Join 3,495 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


CBS Bans Superbowl SodaStream Ad
February 4, 2013 6:17 AM   Subscribe

CBS banned SodaStream’s Super Bowl spot because, apparently, it was too much of a direct hit to two of its biggest sponsors, Coke and Pepsi.

SodaStream was, according to various news sources, allowed to run an alternate ad, which shows slightly less identifiable (at least in Pepsi's case) bottles breaking.

As Disruptive Competition Project points out, "Moral of this story: Pepsi and Coke can attack each other over trivial differences in their products, but don’t attack the business model of big incumbent advertisers."
posted by still_wears_a_hat (89 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
sheesh... does CBS have ANY credibility left?
posted by HuronBob at 6:26 AM on February 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


Well, they still did attack the business model of Coke and Pepsi in the ad that did air. It just wasn't allowed, like Pepsi did in the past, to depict their competitors directly.

One wonders if Sodastream might become to soda what Keurig has become to coffee. Might one day we see Coke and Pepsi and Mountain Dew and Sprite syrups made available to home buyers for use in the Sodastream? Might one of the companies buy the company and market their own?
posted by inturnaround at 6:28 AM on February 4, 2013


I love my new SodaStream as an alternative to having to lug Perrier bottles all over the place. I'm yet to determine if it's cost effective though - I like a super-duper gassy water. I'm curious to find out how often I'll need to change those pricey CO2 canisters.
posted by bitteroldman at 6:29 AM on February 4, 2013


As Disruptive Competition Project points out, "Moral of this story: Pepsi and Coke can attack each other over trivial differences in their products, but don’t attack the business model of big incumbent advertisers."

I am finding it difficult to get outraged about one corporation's lack of right to try to sell me stuff because other corporations want the exclusive right to sell me their stuff and the network corporations okaying it because the short-term funding is not worth the long-term funding they might get from the other two.

We're well past the days where network television made decisions based on anything resembling right and wrong - it's all about what puts money in the coffers and eyeballs on the screen. Period.
posted by Rodrigo Lamaitre at 6:30 AM on February 4, 2013 [15 favorites]


s/banned/refused to run/.

Post end-of-Fairness, you can't really talk about the action of a broadcaster in terms of a ban. They're a corporation, and they made a decision that pissing off advertisers that spend a lot of money with them probably isn't worth accepting an ad from an advertiser that will probably spend less money with them, at least seen from a market capitalization point of view. If you don't like that, get broadcasting re-regulated, and good luck with that unless you've got a time machine and a plan to defeat Ronald Reagan in the 1980 general election.

Second, I can't think of a venue that screams "big incumbent advertisers" more loudly than the Superbowl, so I'm guessing that SodaStream's idea (or that of their agency) was that sending in an ad they knew would get shot down then getting the Internet angry about it was a more effective advertising spend that just going with a straight 30 second Superbowl spot. SodaStream is familiar enough with controversy that I presume they know a thing or two about marketing and PR theory.

On preview, what Rodrigo Lamaitre said, too.
posted by Vetinari at 6:31 AM on February 4, 2013 [11 favorites]


This ad was designed to be banned. It used the logos of Pepsi and Coca Cola without permission.

The creation of banned SuperBowl ads is a very common marketing tactic-- it doesn't cost you too much, and just maybe you'll get lucky enough that outraged people will share it on YouTube.
posted by honest knave at 6:33 AM on February 4, 2013 [66 favorites]


This is how ad support media works. CBS, probably rightly in terms of profit, chose to favor sponsors who have given them a great deal of money, and refuse an ad that might have resulted in those sponsors getting less money.

If you want an independent media, you need to get paid advertising out of it. Period. It is, to be honest, stupid for CBS to insult two of their biggest sources of revenue, and they clearly decided not to. On a money argument, they did the right thing.

On preview:

sheesh... does CBS have ANY credibility left?

Wait, how does adverts give them any credibility, regardless of what they run?

I can also assure you that the reason CBS did this this year is that they had the Super Bowl this year. I'd bet dollars to donuts that NBC or Fox would have done the exact same thing.

You don't piss off the guys who are giving you close to $100M a year for $4 million. You just don't.

And if you're looking for journalistic integrity, why are you looking at Super Bowl ads? This is the sports division, not the news division. CBS making C|Net change an award? That's an issue of journalistic integrity. CBS favoring advertisers that pay them vastly more money than others? That's smart business.
posted by eriko at 6:33 AM on February 4, 2013 [5 favorites]


This ad was designed to be banned. It used the logos of Pepsi and Coca Cola without permission.

Which would be fine...except Pepsi had a campaign for more than one year with a Coke delivery man delivering their product to stores and he'd get caught drinking Pepsi. The Sodastream ad (original flavor) was no more or less egregious than Pepsi's use of same.

But yeah, CBS doesn't derive credibility from ads they choose to run or not. It's not editorial content. No, they lost credibility during the CES Hopper debacle.
posted by inturnaround at 6:38 AM on February 4, 2013 [5 favorites]


Point of info: I seem to remember Coca-Cola selling syrup for a similar product in the early 90's.
posted by Krazor at 6:38 AM on February 4, 2013


I thought this was going to be about the boycott against SodaStream for setting up business operations in an illegally held Israeli settlement. But it's about Pepsi!
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 6:38 AM on February 4, 2013 [23 favorites]


and while we're at it, are we really going to GRAR in support of a company that actually uses an EULA1 on its freakin' CO2 cartridges to support artificially high prices? 'cause that seems a lot more dubious to me than anything CBS may or may not have done here.

1 can't find the EULA online, of course; it's referred to here, though...

posted by Vetinari at 6:39 AM on February 4, 2013 [14 favorites]


We're well past the days where network television made decisions based on anything resembling right and wrong

Free speech for me but not for thee, eh? (Since I can't help noticing weird libertarian think-tanks espousing radical free speech as a moral imperative seem to crop up like toadstools in the shadows of a lot of these big corporations that no longer make decisions based on anything resembling right or wrong...)

I got a SodaStream for Christmas. I like it. Just wish the natural sugar syrups were easier to come by, as the sucralose sweetening in all their regular flavors just doesn't quite cut it for me. Like bitteroldman up there, I'm not sure if it's going to pan out yet cost-wise, but so far, I think I prefer this new business model to the old one. I expect that eventually a lot of good resources for home brew syrup recipes will crop up online, and then I'll never have to spend $2.00 for a bottle of flat, syrupy treacle water again.

This is one "disruptive market" I think I can get behind.
posted by saulgoodman at 6:41 AM on February 4, 2013


I thought this was going to be about the boycott against SodaStream for setting up business operations in an illegally held Israeli settlement

What? Is there really something to that?
posted by saulgoodman at 6:42 AM on February 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


and while we're at it, are we really going to GRAR in support of a company that actually uses an EULA1 on its freakin' CO2 cartridges to support artificially high prices? 'cause that seems a lot more dubious to me than anything CBS may or may not have done here.


They use it so they're allowed to ship co2 cannisters to people. There's some loophole regarding licensing vs. selling those things.

I think.

But yeah they're kinda pricey. You can get an aftermarket adapter for very cheap though.
posted by Lord_Pall at 6:46 AM on February 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Isn't this basically a seltzer bottle?
posted by octothorpe at 6:49 AM on February 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Here we go again...
posted by bondcliff at 6:53 AM on February 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


We ditched soda stream (well, when the unit broke) because of the involvement with illegal Israeli occupation. Spent about $150 at a local home-brew shop and now we carbonate our fizzy water from a bigger CO2 tank that lasts months and refills for $10. Highly recommended. Someone should do a crowd-funded ban-able ad for this!
posted by Mngo at 6:54 AM on February 4, 2013 [16 favorites]


If only we could use all these sugar waters to somehow sequester carbon.
posted by Burhanistan at 6:55 AM on February 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


We've had domestic soda-makers in India forever; had one in my house for most of my childhood, but I still drank Coke and Pepsi whenever I could. I'm not sure why SodaStream is being called a disruptive product.
posted by the cydonian at 6:56 AM on February 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I can think of many victims to feel sympathy for other than Sodastream. They're not a David, they're a billion dollar public company that's been selling to Europeans since the 80s and makes money by overcharging for CO2 and convincing courts that third-party suppliers are doing something illegal (a la printer ink cartridges).

A nice soda siphon is sturdy aluminum, patent-free and costs about $0.33 per liter. As far as flavorings go, I like gin.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 6:56 AM on February 4, 2013 [26 favorites]


Soda, shmoda. If you are a librarian active on twitter, then around 5 seconds after the Oreo ad finished, your twitter stream would have been in meltdown...
posted by Wordshore at 6:58 AM on February 4, 2013 [5 favorites]


I'm not sure why SodaStream is being called a disruptive product.

I'm sure residents of the West Bank could answer that for you.
posted by item at 7:00 AM on February 4, 2013 [5 favorites]


Did I imagine seeing a Soda Stream commercial last night or was it only aired locally to Chicago?
posted by MCMikeNamara at 7:03 AM on February 4, 2013


Never mind; I didn't read the second link. Sorry.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 7:04 AM on February 4, 2013


If you like SodaStream, you might consider building your own carbonation system. The parts are not much more expensive than the sodastream setup, and a single charge of a small C02 tank will carbonate something like 1200 two liter bottles. It is far, far less expensive than sodastream in the long run, and you're not stuck with any one company and their overpriced refill products. You can also get a lot more pressure than the sodastream will produce, and you can add flavoring before carbonating.

Pictures of my setup: http://www.flickr.com/photos/adambarker/4430714171/

Here's a great tutorial:

http://www.truetex.com/carbonation.htm
posted by drklahn at 7:05 AM on February 4, 2013 [66 favorites]


Yeesh. Had no idea I was consorting with the De Beers of carbonation.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:05 AM on February 4, 2013 [14 favorites]


For years I've had a DIY home carbonator. I put it together back before products like SodaStream were well known in the US, and the initial costs are higher. On the other hand, it uses the same type of CO₂ canister used by home kegging systems, which have high capacity (5lb is typical). One of these cylinders will last me for years… One such system is described here—it looks pretty much like mine.

As for soda-style flavors, I don't buy them. I never was that much into cola. Instead, I keep a few ingredients on hand: lemon and lime; unsweetened cranberry juice concentrate; ginger "juice"; cocktail bitters (this is a new addition to the lineup after I discovered "lemon, lime & bitters" in Australia); and agave nectar to sweeten. Of course, almost anything from your liquor cabinet can also make good additions.

Put between a dash and a tablespoon of whatever strikes your fancy in the bottom of a glass. If this included agave, pour a small amount of sparkling water and stir well. Then fill with sparkling water. (I find that flavoring before carbonating makes something that's more likely to gush when opened, and it also gets the carbonation system gummy. Also when you're serving a crowd everyone can have something different)

Alternately, use 1/2 to 1/3 fruit juice with sparkling water.

On my “to do” list is to get some Cinchona bark powder and make my own tonic mix so I can do away with the small stash of canada dry tonic water I keep in the basement.
posted by jepler at 7:06 AM on February 4, 2013 [12 favorites]


>I thought this was going to be about the boycott against SodaStream for setting up business operations in an illegally held Israeli settlement

>What? Is there really something to that?

Who Profits came out with a pretty thorough investigation of SodaStream's factories on the West Bank here (pdf). The basic gist of it is that they're labelled 'Made in Israel' for the international tax breaks (not limited but definitely including importing to the US, a major economic and political ally where SodaStream is obviously hoping to expand its fizzy empire) and the factories are on the West Bank under the guise of fostering Israel-Palestinian goodwill.

This all sounds really good on paper and god knows their Advertising/Public Relations teams are some of the best in the world but the reality is that the Palestinian workers in the SodaStream factories are denied the basic rights given to Israeli citizens while also subjected to draconian rules like the requirement of a work permit, a permit that is revoked if they do something to endanger Israeli security like, and this is no joke, demand higher wages than the extremely low ones that they are paid. SodaStream, by paying taxes to the Israeli government and thus acquiring Israeli defense support in the West Bank, is conducting a good ol' fashioned economic colonization.

Which, I guess if you support that kind of thing, then hip hip hooray, kicking your addiction to carbonated beverages really is just the cherry on top.
posted by dubusadus at 7:11 AM on February 4, 2013 [35 favorites]


I have a sodastream I use all the time, but the mix in syrups really don't live up to normal brand name soda at all. I use it so that I can drink soda water whenever I want without the cost and inconvenience (and trash) of buying soda water constantly. I don't use it to make my own flavored soda at home, if I want soda I still buy it. While it's helped me drink less soda, I rarely bought soda for home to begin with. It's a water replacement for me, not a soda replacement and everyone else I know uses it for the same purpose. Maybe one day the syrups will improve, but as of now I've never even finished a whole half liter of any that I've made. So I don't see sodastream being a direct competitor to coke and pepsi anytime soon. Really it's direct competitor is store brand soda water or maybe Pellegrino.
posted by whoaali at 7:12 AM on February 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeesh. Had no idea I was consorting with the De Beers of carbonation.

Yeah, same here.
Oh well. I didn't like the color of my unit anyways.

Good to know that there are other alternatives.
posted by bitteroldman at 7:15 AM on February 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


You just can't buy the good publicity of getting censored.
posted by bicyclefish at 7:18 AM on February 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Apparently there are also those who clone commercial mineral waters by adding minerals in quantities that mimic the famous names. I'm not quite so particular.
posted by jepler at 7:19 AM on February 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Better yet, you can get a converter to use paintball CO2 tanks (and even those Blue Rhino tanks you can get a Lowes) for your home carbonation kit. While I have a CO2 tank, it's a PITA to get filled/swap out (ie, I'm forgetful), so having an option on hand has been really helpful. While going the Blue Rhino route is pricier than the CO2 refill approach, I don't mind paying extra to avoid wandering around welding shops or shruggy homebrew stores looking for Toby, the one guy who can handle the refill.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:20 AM on February 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Last time SodaStream came up on mefi, someone linked to this Popular Science video about making your own DIY soda carbonation system. I made it, and it's great! I spent a couple months carbonating everything I could, including my signature cocktail, "The Gregory".
posted by Greg Nog at 7:22 AM on February 4, 2013 [27 favorites]


Spent about $150 at a local home-brew shop and now we carbonate our fizzy water from a bigger CO2 tank that lasts months and refills for $10. Highly recommended.

Same thing I did as well.
posted by mrbill at 7:32 AM on February 4, 2013


Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble!
posted by argonauta at 7:33 AM on February 4, 2013


Better yet, you can get a converter to use paintball CO2 tanks

Are those "food grade". I heard there was a major difference.
posted by guy72277 at 7:35 AM on February 4, 2013


This has already happened in the UK, and that is why I am not saying anything else about this topic.

If nothing else, I haven't drunk fizzy drinks since I was 14, save the odd cheeky ginger beer.
posted by mippy at 7:39 AM on February 4, 2013


We had a SodaStream that we stopped using because we just got too busy/lazy to constantly go back to the store for a new "tank."
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:43 AM on February 4, 2013


SodaStream is such a racket. And this is a racket of an advertising move. They were begging for this to be "banned." I mean, how else are you going to get vociferous coverage like this in Forbes? "Where is the outrage"? Please.
posted by koeselitz at 7:46 AM on February 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


I didn't like the color of my unit anyways.

Man, we just had a MeTa on medical AskMes, too...
posted by adamdschneider at 7:46 AM on February 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yes. Get a tank and the right hardware, and roll your own.

I have a 20 pound tank that I filled 2 years ago and still haven't emptied it. And when I do, it's a quick trip down to a welding supply shop to fill it up. Took me 20 minutes to put together, once I'd assembled the parts.

Sometimes I get really mad at Al Gore and just turn the thing on and laugh maniacally.
posted by middleclasstool at 7:49 AM on February 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Where is the outrage?

Yes, clearly we should be outraged by what a giant media company does in accepting advertising from an upstart company selling sugar water. It's the same level of fauxtrage that I reserve for formerly respectable financial magazines that have become content farms hosting histrionic blog posts. There's eight ad units on that page and even an interstitial ad. Outrage!

I'll save my real outrage for the normalization of drinking 60+ grams of sugar dissolved in carbonated water several times a day.
posted by Nelson at 8:00 AM on February 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


If only we could use all these sugar waters to somehow sequester carbon.

I try, but burp.
posted by srboisvert at 8:02 AM on February 4, 2013


I made it, and it's great! I spent a couple months carbonating everything I could, including my signature cocktail, "The Gregory".

I hope I'm not the only person who wishes you went with "The Noggenator" :(
posted by iamabot at 8:02 AM on February 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


Hey SodaStream, there's only so much competition to go around...leave some for the sporting match, or everyone will be too distracted by the commercials!
posted by obscurator at 8:07 AM on February 4, 2013


Are those "food grade". I heard there was a major difference.

The paintball supply people get their tanks refilled at the same places the homebrew supply people do. While you'll want to get your fittings at a homebrew store, gas is gas.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:09 AM on February 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm so torn about the Israeli thing - I have a friend who is really opinionated on Palestinian rights, but on the other hand he and his girlfriend love their Sodastream.

Maybe I'll just make it subtle.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:11 AM on February 4, 2013


my signature cocktail, "The Gregory"

This sounds ominously like the beveragical equivalent of a Jeffrey.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:21 AM on February 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


My ad of hello.jpg bouncing around the screen accompanied by Slick Rick's "Lick the Balls" was banned due to fascist CBS censorship and also because I was only willing to pay $7.50
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:25 AM on February 4, 2013 [12 favorites]


The media’s job isn’t to judge.

.
posted by any major dude at 8:26 AM on February 4, 2013


Are those "food grade". I heard there was a major difference.

Yes and no. The difference between "food grade" and industrial grade is usually 99.9% vs 99% purity. If your major impurity in your CO2 canister is nitrogen, water or oxygen it isn't going to matter that much. If your major impurity in your industrial CO2 canister is hydrocarbons, sulfides and benzene then we have a problem.

You can always ask the CO2 place to see what's in the gas. So long as HCs are below 50ppm, sulfides are below 1ppm and benzene is below 20ppb you're in business.
posted by Talez at 8:29 AM on February 4, 2013 [11 favorites]


This sounds ominously like the beveragical equivalent of a Jeffrey.

More or less! It's everclear and milk.
posted by Greg Nog at 8:36 AM on February 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


You guys have heard of Dasani Drops, right? I guess syrups could be where it's at in the future. Also I wanted to add that if you have a Sodastream, the Diet Pink Grapefruit is actually unbelievably good. I'm also not a big syrup guy.
posted by phaedon at 8:40 AM on February 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


From the Forbes article:
"Add the fact CBS banned the Dish Network “Hopper” and now we’ve got ourselves a trend."
Yes. Yes we do.
posted by ericb at 8:48 AM on February 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Carbonated Cheese.

That is all.
posted by blue_beetle at 8:48 AM on February 4, 2013


Carbonated cheese predates fizzy water by a couple centuries.
posted by ardgedee at 8:54 AM on February 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


A free market you say? Sounds interesting.

This really chaps me as once again it's a case big business doing all the wrong things -- especially from a sustainability perspective -- just to maximize profits. At what point do We The People decide to call out such mercenary tactics as a threat to the health and wellbeing of both the planet and the folks who have to live on it?
posted by nowhere man at 8:56 AM on February 4, 2013


I too have had a homebrew C02 setup for over a year now, and have basically been using and re-using the same old liter coke bottle to make soda throughout that time. Those "throwaway" bottles are amazingly durable feats of engineering- such a waste to throw it out after one use!

I thought the Sodasteam ad did a good job illustrating the unnescessary waste, but you really don't need their fancy bottle.
posted by Esteemed Offendi at 9:14 AM on February 4, 2013


Guys, guys, guys! Hey, guys!

They DID air a SodaStream ad during the superbowl.
posted by lostburner at 9:16 AM on February 4, 2013 [6 favorites]


*cracks lostburner upside the head with a coke bottle*
posted by phaedon at 9:22 AM on February 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


I too have a 20lb homebrew setup. I basically drink nothing but soda water at home, and I still have half a tank of CO2.
posted by zug at 9:39 AM on February 4, 2013


I could have made a way better ad. "SodaStream: It works even when the power's out."
posted by miyabo at 9:48 AM on February 4, 2013 [6 favorites]


Are those "food grade". I heard there was a major difference.

There's no difference in the tanks; once upon a time I was tasked with buying ones for laboratory use and they are held to the same standards either way, which mostly have to do with withstanding pressure without getting all explodey. It's the same aluminum alloy produced, very likely, in the same factory. There are different certification regimes for steel tanks used for various purposes, but if you are talking about little aluminum ones they are basically a commodity product.

Now, the gas you buy can be different depending on its intended use. Medical gases vs food grade gases vs industrial gases have different levels of quality control and documentation about them. But depending on what gas you are buying and how close to the source you are, it might not matter; they basically may be selling you the same gas but charging you extra for the food-grade or medical-grade paperwork. (This was definitely the case when I was buying Nitrogen, because I was getting it directly from the Airgas plant that fractionally distilled the stuff from liquid air ... they didn't have a different setting on the machine for "medical nitrogen" vs "industrial nitrogen", it was just in whether they were willing to swear on their lawyers diplomas that it was 99.99% percent pure vs 99.9 or whatever. At least that was the story from the guys who ran the machines. However, I'm not sure if this carries over to industrial CO2, which mainly comes from other routes rather than fractional air distillation.)

Personally, I'd happily carbonate beverages with industrial-grade, welding supply store CO2; the missing 0.1-1% would have to be something pretty toxic (and water soluble) to hurt you. There's a surprisingly short list of stuff that will do that.

But then again I also think motorcycles are fun, so YMMV in terms of risk assessments.
posted by Kadin2048 at 9:49 AM on February 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Interesting article about the West Bank factory controversy.

Though I'm not smart enough to determine if this is good PR or if Daniel Birnbaum actually deserves some credit, but i'll share it here anyway.
posted by bitteroldman at 9:59 AM on February 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wanted: home carbonator other than SodaStream that isn't butt-fugly and which does not require drilling through the countertop to hide the tank.
posted by aramaic at 10:20 AM on February 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


I got a Primo FlavorStation last week. It's essentially the same price and functionality as a SodaStream, except it comes with an industry-standard 22oz CO2 canister that you can get refilled anywhere on the cheap (also includes an adapter so you can use SodaStream bottles if you must), and doesn't come with the apartheid issues. Works like a charm.
posted by mullingitover at 10:31 AM on February 4, 2013 [10 favorites]


Yeesh. Had no idea I was consorting with the De Beers of carbonation.

How do you sleep at night with your Blood Bubbles?!
posted by Celsius1414 at 10:44 AM on February 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


If you want to keep using your sodastream but not give them any more money for those expensive co2 canisters you can get an adaptor and a 24oz paintball tank from this guy.
posted by splatta at 10:57 AM on February 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Now, the gas you buy can be different depending on its intended use. Medical gases vs food grade gases vs industrial gases have different levels of quality control and documentation about them. But depending on what gas you are buying and how close to the source you are, it might not matter; they basically may be selling you the same gas but charging you extra for the food-grade or medical-grade paperwork.

If the food labeling and contamination scandals of the last decade have shown anything, it's that there are plenty of companies willing to cut corners on products that they know people are going to eat. I would personally not take the risk that an industrial grade gas produced under the assumption that it will not be eaten just happens to be safe to eat.
posted by Pyry at 10:59 AM on February 4, 2013


my signature cocktail, "The Gregory"

Served in a hollowed-out banana.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 11:04 AM on February 4, 2013


Yeesh. Had no idea I was consorting with the De Beers of carbonation.

I honestly read that as Da Bears of carbonation.
posted by 4ster at 11:22 AM on February 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


Free speech for me but not for thee, eh?

Dude, you're talking about ads. Can the hyperbole, eh?
posted by MartinWisse at 11:37 AM on February 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


It was a joke, MartinWisse. It's only hyperbole if you're taking the topic very seriously to start with. I wasn't, at first, though maybe I should take these other SodaStream controversies more seriously now that I know about them. (I don't even consider commercial speech free speech; it's just all the weird double standards around the issue of speech I was poking fun at.)
posted by saulgoodman at 11:51 AM on February 4, 2013


There’s no need for the medium to have a say in the message.

I don't mean to play the contrarian card too strongly here, but Will Burn's article is really poorly thought out. First of all, of course the medium has a say in the message. Just look at this thread. Do you see any commercials during the Super Bowl for homemade carbonation systems? Of course not. Because you need money to buy ad space. The medium is the message: consume, consume, consume. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Your corporate marketing dollars at work. Money is bias. Think about it, when's the last time you saw a commercial during any sports broadcast that didn't have something to do with fast food/drink, insurance or cars? And maybe a prescription drug?

He goes on to call CBS's move uncapitalistic. Really? You're going to rock the Coke and Pepsi boat over a million bucks? I don't think so. If anything, Coke and Pepsi have become "too big to fail." That's not medium bias; that's consumer-driven reality. Capitalism in its current form is inherently anti-progress. The movement to liberate the individual from society's class structures, to remove economic restrictions between countries, to allow markets to self-regulate and thereby channel self-interest towards socially desirable ends, has, despite our best intentions, led to a previously unheralded form of social control and immobility, where we are now seeing previously weak but otherwise stable Western countries collapsing into a state of complete servitude, totally subverting long-standing local political and social institutions in a matter of years, in the name of "paying off economic debt."

So I mean, either question the premise entirely, or don't question it at all. That's probably why the ad world isn't up in arms. And the fact is this: the network exists solely to turn a profit, and this was the correct decision on CBS's part. If CBS happens to make your life better or provide you with useful information under the guise of "television," then so be it. If the public is going to freak out and say they want their SodaStream commercials, then yeah, as consumers, they can probably affect the equation. But the truth is while you're watching "Where's the Beef?" commercials, corporations are trying to put horses in your patties. Not because they're mean, but because they're trying to save a few cents. Good things cost money. The free network that you think is supposed to channel the spirit of Murrow, costs a shit-ton of money.

So the only questions seems to be how low can we stoop, and the only answer left would seem to involve regulating free speech, economic forces be damned. And we are so far away from doing that. What, are media outlets supposed to stop charging for ad space? Ad agencies are going to stop charging clients? You wouldn't have a job at Forbes if you started talking like that in the first place. So spare me the SodaStream drama. I'm sure Forbes Magazine has the same kind of mentality in their own advertising department, a la The Atlantic.

That's why internet forums like MetaFilter can be seen as so important - for society and like, my personal mental health. In the coming years, with the rise of new generations of consumers, I wouldn't be surprised to see the current online climate completely abolished and replaced with some much less free and progressive. Funny how that works, isn't it? To say that it isn't already happening is a massive understatement. One day you wake up, and now you have to pay to promote comments on Facebook? Unbelievable. Advertising has even reached this sanctified doorstep.
posted by phaedon at 11:54 AM on February 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


I guess it's my minority status as a relic without cable, but I still think of CBS as a company that's been granted a government monopoly on a public resource (i.e. the airwaves, the ones The Ramones wanted so bad), so of course they should be subject to more fairness regulations than other companies.

> If only we could use all these sugar waters to somehow sequester carbon.

It looks like the carbon content of human fat is pretty high, so you've just given me a new euphemism for over-eating: "I'm not pigging out, I'm sequestering carbon. What are you doing to stop global warming?".
posted by benito.strauss at 12:51 PM on February 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


You know how people are all the time saying that "advertising doesn't work"? Well guess what folks -- this is advertising, and this is exactly how it works.
posted by spilon at 1:10 PM on February 4, 2013


One wonders if Sodastream might become to soda what Keurig has become to coffee. Might one day we see Coke and Pepsi and Mountain Dew and Sprite syrups made available to home buyers for use in the Sodastream? Might one of the companies buy the company and market their own?

I have faint memories of my father buying a case of Pepsi syrup and trying to make his own. Some of these memories are of me at roughly adult height, so I must have been carried, so I must have been really really young, like two or so, when this happened. I vaguely remember trying his output and finding it quite bleah.

and while we're at it, are we really going to GRAR in support of a company that actually uses an EULA on its freakin' CO2 cartridges to support artificially high prices?

This.

Didn't people used to have their own home soda fountains? Why can't these devices get made in a way that isn't cell-phone-company exploitative? The model is supposed to be 1. sell a product, 2. get paid money in exchange, not 1. lock in customers, 2. force them to use your stuff or they lose prior investment.

The popularity (fueled by marketing dollars) of SodaStream has pushed this towards the public consciousness. But microbrewers got popular without a single company pouring money into marketing a proprietary solution. Why didn't this happen with soft drinks? My guess is, harder to make syrup, hard beverages have more cultural cachet, and beer is perceived as having more of an artisanal quality.

For those adverse to typing in URLs, here's drklahn's links all nice and clicky for you:
drklahn's carbination setup
Tutorial

Thanks for the link dubusadus, you can usually expect some Metafilter member will have access to (Paul Harvey voice) the rest of the story.

If only we could use all these sugar waters to somehow sequester carbon.

My time-travelling next-door neighbor who sometimes looks over my shoulder warns, don't try it with the oceans. It didn't end well.

Interesting article about the West Bank factory controversy.

Yeah, that seems like kind of a puff piece.

Finally: one of my favorite drinks is 50% orange juice, 50% seltzer. Very strong flavors like orange juice* turn my brain off for a few seconds, and seltzer tastes surprisingly odd without flavoring, but the two leaven each other out very nicely.

* sometimes -- commercial orange juice is less squeezed as manufactured, and different companies do it differently
posted by JHarris at 1:48 PM on February 4, 2013


One day you wake up, and now you have to pay to promote comments on Facebook? Unbelievable. Advertising has even reached this sanctified doorstep.

I think you misspelled "shit-smeared doormat".
posted by benzenedream at 1:50 PM on February 4, 2013


Halfway between reality and The Onion - today's Sodastream special at the Home Shopping Network includes the required ingredients so you can literally Drink The Kool-Aid. (via)
posted by achrise at 2:34 PM on February 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Would carbonated sweet tea be good?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:54 PM on February 4, 2013


You (and I) would think that carbonated milk would be kind of disturbing, but I heard someone say once that it actually wasn't that bad. And we all know that that someone you once heard say something is always right.
posted by JHarris at 3:50 PM on February 4, 2013


I'm watching NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams. The original SodaStream ad (with the Coke and Pepsi logo trucks) just played. NBC Universal has no problem with airing it.
posted by ericb at 4:02 PM on February 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Might one day we see Coke and Pepsi and Mountain Dew and Sprite syrups made available to home buyers for use in the Sodastream?

You can get name-brand soda syrup at your local Sam's Club, for one place. It's not like there's some sort of cartel preventing access by the public.

I vaguely remember trying his output and finding it quite bleah.

Well, you just have to make it the same way it's made anyplace else -- mix with water and CO2. There's nothing special about it and it needs to be dumb and simple enough that with the right equipment a pimply 15-year-old with no work experience other than mowing lawns can handle it. If you didn't get it right it wasn't because you couldn't do it, it was probably just a mix issue.

One of my treasured memories is working a soda fountain at the art fair my parents helped run, and (as only a 12-year-old in the 1970s could have) getting giddy with the power of mixing cola, orange, root beer, and whatever. In those days it wasn't available in a red machine anywhere, you actually had to to the mixing by holding the mechanical spray pump. Practically steampunk, man.
posted by dhartung at 4:25 PM on February 4, 2013


ROU_Xenophobe: Would carbonated sweet tea be good?

It's not that good, carbonating iced coffee is better. Tried carbonated wine a few times- it's pretty terrible though a 50/50 of seltzer and real grape juice is awesome. Recarbonated flat beer is passable. The clear winner was carbonated gin, which tasted pretty good by itself and awesome with a splash of tonic. Worst by far occurred when I acquired some crispy bacon flavoring in a misguided attempt to make pork soda, utterly vile. Fuck you Les Claypool.
posted by Challahtronix at 3:23 AM on February 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


> You (and I) would think that carbonated milk would be kind of disturbing, but I heard someone say once that it actually wasn't that bad

Milkis is pretty nice. But it's very lightly carbonated; the bubbles are smaller and it's less aggressively sharp than American soda. I don't think you could take a glass of milk and carbonate it straight-up to make something palatable.
posted by ardgedee at 4:12 AM on February 5, 2013


Soda Stream? What is this, 1978?
posted by marienbad at 7:36 AM on February 5, 2013


Well, when bottled soda water/sodas are running sometimes as much as a buck per liter, what do you expect? Even store brand seltzer is starting to get up there with the syrupy stuff. The dream of making your own is irresistible when you're otherwise at the mercy of pricing driven as much by the business needs of the grocer as the demands of the consumer. Only a few years ago, I could buy Publix flavored seltzer for something like $0.69 per 2 liter. Now it's as much as a 2-liter of the name-brand syrupy stuff was back then (and the sodas are twice as much--but I won't complain about that too much because really who needs that stuff?). Has demand grown that much? The economic indicators would seem to suggest it's shrunk...
posted by saulgoodman at 8:35 AM on February 5, 2013


: " Has demand grown that much? The economic indicators would seem to suggest it's shrunk..."

Data point: we have free soft drinks at my office. A year ago we started getting cans of carbonated water along with all the sugary drinks.

To this day, the carbonated water is always the first thing gone from the frige. The Coke sits there all week nearly untouched, but they stock the fridge with a few cases a day of the carbonated water and it's always gone by lunchtime.
posted by mullingitover at 11:45 AM on February 5, 2013


« Older (NSFW) Clovis Trouille was a French anti clericist...  |  Foxes hunt rodents in the snow... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments