Johannesburg - SodaStream’s global pro-environment campaign, “If you love
the bubbles, set them free”, is causing a lot of irritation among the bottlers
of fizzy soft drinks. In the UK, industry leaders have successfully got a TV
commercial banned from being flighted because it allegedly denigrated bottled
soft drinks.SodaStream is a product that carbonates soft drinks as you
use them, so it is not necessary to bottle them. The message of its global
campaign is that plastic bottles contribute hugely to the consumption of
resources and the destruction of the planet.
“Help free the world from
bottles,” is its plea.
It lost the case brought by Clearcast, an organisation that
pre-approves TV advertising in the UK.
Earlier this year, SodaStream South Africa mounted an
eco-exhibit at OR Tambo International Airport. A huge metal cage was filled
with 5 078 used plastic PET bottles, which is the average number of bottles an
average South African family consumes and discards in three years. “With
SodaStream you can save 2 000 bottles a year!” was the message on the cage.
A complaint was also lodged with the Advertising Standards
Authority claiming unauthorised misuse of Coca-Cola, Fanta and other soft drink
brands, which were still identifiable on many of the bottles. Disparagement of
a competitor’s product is also an offence under the ASA code.
“The truth is that plastic bottles destroy our planet,” says
Soda Stream’s South African MD, Francois Dippenaar. “Every year, 340bn bottles
around the world end up in landfills. Because of this threat to the planet, we
will continue telling the story.
“The SodaStream system creates a fraction of the carbon
footprint of the traditional industry with its factories, trucks and bottles.
We will not compromise on our environmental strategy, neither will we be
silenced or intimidated by Coca-Cola. We will continue telling the story that
plastic is destroying our planet.
“We have erected the cage at high-profile events and venues
such as the Chicago International Housewares Show, Selfridges in the UK, and at
airports in Canada, Belgium and New Zealand.”
SodaStream CEO Daniel Birnbaum asks: “Are we really being
censored for helping to save the environment. This might be the first time an
environmental approach has been shut down by the media to protect the
Dippenaar said SodaStream intends to lobby Government for a
plastic bottle tax in SA to protect the environment.
*This article first appeared in Finweek.