Why was Scarlett Johansson’s SodaStream ad ‘banned’ from the SuperBowl?


As we discussed last week, Scarlett Joahnsson has yet another side-gig. Most of her career these days is a side-gig – she is now or has been “the face” of about ten brands in the past five years. This month’s side-project is an endorsement deal with SodaStream. ScarJo apparently LOVES SodaStream and she’s always been a fan and now they’re paying her to talk it up. So, good business all around. ScarJo’s SodaStream was supposed to debut during the SuperBowl on Sunday, but now it looks like the commercial might get pulled… or censored. Watch it and see if you can figure out the problem:

Do you know why it had to be censored? Because Scarlett say “Sorry Coke and Pepsi” at the end. Fox (the network airing the SuperBowl) has deemed this “unsuitable” – probably because Coke and/or Pepsi have bought a lot of SuperBowl air time already and because Pepsi sponsors the Half-Time show? Well, SodaStream CEO Daniel Birnbaum told USA Today that Fox refused to run the ad “because they’re afraid of Coke and Pepsi… What are they afraid of? Which advertiser in America doesn’t mention a competitor? This is the kind of stuff that happens in China. I’m disappointed as an American.” Pepsi and the Fox people declined to respond, but Coke offered this statement: “I can confirm we did not pressure Fox. Other than that, we don’t comment on our competitors’ efforts.” Ah, so Pepsi was pissed. Noted.

Meanwhile, ScarJo is being criticized on a different front – apparently, SodaStream has a factory in the disputed and controversial West Bank territory. ScarJo is a goodwill ambassador for Oxfam, and Oxfam opposes Israeli businesses using the West Bank as commercial space. ScarJo answered the criticism last week, saying in part: “I remain a supporter of economic cooperation and social interaction between a democratic Israel and Palestine. SodaStream is a company that is not only committed to the environment but to building a bridge to peace between Israel and Palestine, supporting neighbors working alongside each other, receiving equal pay, equal benefits and equal rights. That is what is happening in their Ma’ale Adumim factory every working day.” You can read more about that controversy here. I actually thought her statement was very smart and realistic.


Photos courtesy of WENN.

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52 Responses to “Why was Scarlett Johansson’s SodaStream ad ‘banned’ from the SuperBowl?”

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  1. CandyKay says:

    I would guess that the real reason the ad was pulled was because of politics. The Super Bowl people want to represent the widest audience possible, and the last thing they want is to get wrapped up in a controversy about Israeli vs. Palestinian territory.

    • don't kill me i'm french says:


    • M.A.F. says:

      I thought so too. The politics surrounding the ad and/or company has been around going on since she was named their spoke person not because she says Coke or Pepsi in the ad.

      • Dutch says:

        It’s totally Pepsi having a hissy fit. The politics surrounding the factory are so far off the radar of Fox and the average American that it’s barely worth mentioning. Pepsi spends close to $20 million a year on their Super Bowl campaign and is projected to be the No. 2 advertiser for the game. Fox is not going to do anything to upset them.

  2. tifzlan says:

    Disappointed in Oxfam’s decision to continue having her as a global ambassador.

    • FLORC says:

      I had no idea she was in the first place!

      And I can’t believe she wrote the majority of that without considerable help.

  3. Rufus says:

    She is so stupid! Looks like she has never been in Ma’ale Adumim to see by herself how everyone receives “equal benefits and equal rights”.. a pure ignorance..

    • M.A.F. says:

      I think very few people even know about the Oslo Accords let alone remember the agreements written in them.

    • Sloane Wyatt says:

      I do, M.A.F. Kudos to Rufus and Gretchen for bringing some knowledge to the table. That’s a meal I’ll eat wherever I find it.

    • Ice Maiden says:

      Yup. Building factories in occupied territory is a war crime according to the Geneva Conventions. It’s really very straightforward, and no amount of slick PR spin can change that.

    • frivolity says:

      Thanks for your great comment, Gretchen. Scarlett’s PR spiel from her publicist may sound as good as any of the other “it’s a complicated situation” rhetoric, but that does not make it true or right. I’m glad that people are exposing this controversy and not just talking about the stupid product.

      Fact is, most of these celebrities are just corporate wh0r3s. They really do not have any social or political integrity.

    • Diana says:

      Her statement is neither smart nor realistic. Equality in Ma’ale Adumim???Are you kidding me?I don’t think people really know how palestinians are being treated there.

    • Kiddo says:


    • Diana says:

      Gretchen, thank you for bringing this up; I read about it earlier and I was like, I hope Celebitchy covers this to see what the posters comment. It is trully infurating that Scarlett is trying to whitewash the horrible situation with this business. Everyone gets on J-Lo’s back for singing for dictators but when it comes to israel it seems there’s nothing wrong with supporting a country that’s invading its neibors for such a long time with no repercussions whatsoever.

    • Nerd Alert says:

      Gretchen, I am in love with you.

      Does everybody know the reason so many conservative Americans are so “pro-Israel”? Despite the fact that Israel illegally occupies Palestine’s territory and we have gone to war with other countries over a lot less, America remains loyal to Israel because of the Rapture. At least 20% of Americans believe the Armageddon will come in their lifetime as predicted by the bible (although the book itself doesn’t give a timeline–people believe this because of what their pastors tell them).

      Anyway, 96% of those people actively vote. That means these people represent 38% of voters, and they all have a similar political persuasion. They think that when the Rapture starts, it’s best if we’re friends with whomever occupies their holy land so they can safely travel there. It doesn’t make a lot of sense, but that’s how they vote. There’s actually no other reason to side with Israel, other than this notion of salvation.

    • FLORC says:

      Nerd Alert.

      Just curious. Where are you getting your stats?

      Loving this convo too. This is why I like this site so much. Gossip and a health dose of World news. It’s not an average gossip site filled with hate and superficial topics on clothes and who’s with who.
      Kudos to Kaiser, CB, Bedhead along with all you posters:)

    • Carol says:

      Israel and Palestinian situation is highly complicated. Do you know Israel’s history? Have you ever been there? Have you spoken to Palestinians and Israelies who actually live in Israel? Should Israel improve their relationship with the Palestinians living in the country or eradicate the sanctioning of creating settlements in areas given to Pakestinians? Yes. But the situation becomes much more complex when every country surrounding the area wants to eliminate Israel.

    • Decloo says:

      @Gretchen, Kudos to you for outlining this issue. Very few people like to touch this argument for fear of being branded an anti-semite. There should be no Israeli factories nor settlements on this land at all.

    • Ice Maiden says:

      ”Israel and Palestinian situation is highly complicated”

      It really isn’t. To repeat (for, I think, the 3rd time) the building of settlements – or factories – on occupied land is a war crime according to the 4th Geneva Convention, to which Israel is a signatory. Don’t just take my word on this by any means. Just about every single government on earth (including the very pro-Israel US) and every international legal body including the UN takes the same position.

      Sodastream are essentially engaging in war profiteering. There’s nothing at all complicated about it, or about Johansson’s endorsement of what, to repeat one more time, is a war crime according to international law.

  4. Frida_K says:

    She didn’t come up with that statement. Someone with a slick sense of PR came up with that statement. I doubt she knows or cares about what’s going on over there in the factory as long as she gets her residuals.

    • Mia4S says:


      You can find that statement almost word for word from Soda Stream in the past. You’re crazy if you think she had any part in writing that. Scarlett is many things but more and more I doubt that “smart” is one of them.

  5. Pri says:

    I want her to just go! I’m sick of her having nothing to offer.

  6. Kiddo says:

    It sounds like politics to me, on a variety of levels. But soda stream got some free press from the controversy, so maybe smart move? Whatever. I’m still not interested in another piece of junk, that I will never use, for my small kitchen.

  7. GoodNamesAllTaken says:

    I think it would be unethical to take money from Coke and Pepsi to run their ads and then run an ad that takes a shot at them both in the same show. Not to mention stupid, since that make your own soda machine will probably wind up in the back of the pantry with the panini press and the company will fold in two years.

    Perhaps it was politics, I don’t know.

    • minime says:

      Ah well, referring coke and pepsi seems a bit stupid, but certainly got America’s attention 😉
      I don’t think that the company “will fold in two years”, since it already exists for long and it is quite successful (at least) in some European countries. I have one soda machine simply to make sparkling water and I love it. In Germany you find it in every basic supermarket.

      On the other hand, I wasn’t aware and I’m not so pleased to know that they have a factory in Palestinian occupied territory. On the other hand, if they give good working conditions for Palestinian people, shouldn’t I be happy to support that? I don’t know, it’s a difficult question here and I can see why the SuperBowl ppl don’t want to get entangled in that mess.

      • tifzlan says:

        But they don’t give good working conditions to the Palestinian people.

      • Kiddo says:

        I do enjoy sparkling water, but Trader Joe’s has some good ones that are very inexpensive.

      • Mia4S says:

        Oxfam is a long-standing and respected humanitarian organization. If they have concerns about the so-called “good working conditions” for Palestinians, chances are there is good reason to be concerned. It’s not right to overlook that so people can have their fizzy water machines.

        This was a dumb thing for Scarlet to get caught up in. Is she that desperate for cash? I know Marvel pays crap but is it that bad?

      • Diana says:

        As someone who’s been in maale adumim, “good working conditions” do not exist.Palestinians aren’t even treated like humans and I’m not even exaggerating.

      • Ice Maiden says:

        And even if they were ‘treated well’ would it really matter? Some slaves were ‘treated well’ too. Surely the point is that Palestinians should be free to control their own lives, and not be subject to whether or not the occupiers choose to ‘treat them well’ or otherwise, as though they were hostages.

      • minime says:

        Mia4s and Diana: thanks for bringing some facts to the conversation. I think it’s important to be aware of this so that we do informed choices when we spend money on something. Certainly my attitude towards this company has changed.

        Ice Maiden: It might not make a difference for you, but surely it makes a difference for people who depend on having a job for living that that job is fair or not. And here we are obviously speaking of two different things. It’s not the Soda company that is responsible for the settlements, but Israel. This company could as well have built a fabric in there and tried to make equal conditions for both sides. Apparently, from the many comments here, that is not the case and that indeed is the biggest problem.

      • Ice Maiden says:

        The point is that in promoting a factory built on occupied territory (which to repeat, is a war crime according to the Geneva Conventions) Johansson is normalising occupation, and perpetuating a situation whereby an occupied people have to depend on the whims of their occupiers for the most basic of things, including having a job, getting medical care, or visiting their family in the next town.

        This is why most Palestinians support boycott of companies like Sodastream, even if means they might lose their jobs in the short term, just like most black South Africans supported sanctions even if it caused short-term financial hardship for them. Talk of ‘equality’ in such a situation is nonsense. How many of the people on the Sodastream board of directors are Palestinian? I’m willing to bet few if any are. They are a source of cheap labour in a – literally – captive workforce. This is not something I, for one, am prepared to support.

      • Nerd Alert says:

        Oh lord. I would give my left foot for a Trader Joe’s in Colorado. They keep teasing us, but you can’t sell alcohol in a grocery store here, which is a major holdup.

        Unfortunately, carbonated water is stupidly expensive and I drink it on the daily. I knew about SodaStream’s factory, though, so I just got a different brand of soda maker. Problem solved.

      • Decloo says:

        “Good working conditions for Palestinians” is not the point. The Israeli government loves to point out all the good things these settlements have brought to the otherwise “impoverished” Palestinians. That’s a smokescreen. The point is that legally and ethically this land belongs to Palestine.

  8. SnarkySnarkers says:

    Same exact thing happened to Soda Stream last year. Coke and Pepsi will not allow any competition. http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/02/01/how-sodastream-took-on-the-super-bowl-and-lost-then-won.html

  9. Valery says:

    Oh please, her statement was written by the PR guys at Soda Stream. “Building bridges” is one of their slogans and lets be real, they’re in the occupied territories because they get tax breaks, not because they’re coming up with a consumerist solution to this decades long conflict. As if the occupiers and occupied could ever be equal.
    It’d be so much better if celebs like Scarjo going around, preaching world peace while at the same time, getting paid tens of millions in ads revenue, would actually get informed for a change. Unfortunately, even if she has a moral bone, she won’t do anything, because the moment, she’d start criticizing her generous patrons, she’d be labeled antisemitic.
    It would’ve been better if she had stuck to perfumes and couture endorsements.

    • gaggles says:

      “It’d be so much better if celebs like Scarjo going around, preaching world peace while at the same time, getting paid tens of millions in ads revenue, would actually get informed for a change. ”

      BANG ON! seriously celebs are so f-king pretentious and self righteous.

      Also I’ve never thought scarlett was that bad an actress, but this commercial makes me realize it. She’s god awful. What did she do to her face. She’s stiffer than usual.

  10. Alana says:

    Yes, gonna go with the coke and pepsi reference, in most ads they just say “we’re better than the leading competitor.” Sometimes Coke mentions Pepsi and Pepsi mentions coke but that’s equal footing.

    • Ice Maiden says:

      If that were the case though, wouldn’t it have been easy to alter the ad? It’s only one sentence at the very end. It could have been left out easily enough.

      • Decloo says:

        They didn’t have to. They are getting all the benefits of the ad without having to pay for the ad space. I wouldn’t be surprised if they made this ad “controversial” on purpose so it WOULD get rejected and they would get all this free publicity.

      • Ice Maiden says:

        Given how much attention this is drawing to Sodastream’s factory on illegally occupied land, I’m not sure the publicity is entirely welcome. They say there’s no such thng as bad publicity, but I’m not so sure in this case.

  11. andrea says:

    I doubt its politics….because last year their superbowl ad was banned too wasnt it? Because the sponsers complained about how it was showing regular pop bottles blow up and coke and pepsi didnt like that. There was no mention of the Israel thing last year…

  12. Lucky Charm says:

    Coke, Pepsi, SodaStream…meh. I prefer my red wine! 🙂

  13. Truthful says:

    seems like soda companies will never let this ride, even if everything was done politically correct. “competition” simple..

    it will always be a reason to NOT want this new machine in family homes, where you can control the ingredients more so.

  14. AnnE says:

    This coming from the same girl that LOVES to work for a man (and I use that term loosely) who married the barely legal step daughter he helped raise from the time she was a young child. The same man who has been accused by another step daughter of inappropriate touching when she was 7. YAY – she checks out who she gets a paycheck from. I do not get what people see in this chick, go to any mall and half the woman are better looking and sexier than her IMO. Not smart enough to keep the hot Ryan Reynolds!

  15. Bullseye says:

    Ok, the only thing that really bothered me was her phrase: “Less sugar, less bottles.”

    Fewer bottles. Fewer!

    • fedupgrammarian says:

      I hear less used instead of fewer so often now, from newscasters mostly and in several commercials, but it doesn’t get easier on the ears. And you’d think at least for the Super Bowl an ad agency would try to get it right!! Some times it sounds more egregious than others and this was one of those!! Sorry kitties, didn’t mean to scare you!!

  16. boredbrit says:


    You know I realised Hollywood is full of zionist/pro-zionist idiots when Vanessa Redgrave’s Oscar speech was booed. It’s sickening but strangely unsurprising.

  17. Dap says:

    Her statement would be smart and realistic, only if it was true -which is not. In that case, it’s just sheer propaganda.