Why Soda Stream is at loggerheads with British broadcasters.

Who would have thought that an invention many of us associate with our childhoods in the 1970s and 1980s would still be going SodaStreamstrong?

But, not only is Soda Stream a source of nostalgia, but it is also enjoying something of a resurgence, pushed forward with a new advertising campaign.

First invented in 1903 by Guy Hugh Gilbey, the drinks produced by SodaStream’s forerunner were sold to the upper classes, with flavours including cherry ciderette and sarsaparilla. The first home carbonation machine was produced in 1955, but it was in the 1970s and 1980s that Soda Stream really came into its own with the slogan: “Get busy with the fizzy”.

old sodastreamAnd, three decades later, SodaStream, now with the catchline “set the bubbles free” is enjoying renewed popularity across the world. A staggering 20 per cent of households in Sweden own SodaStream machines and, in 2011, the company marked the sale of its millionth soda maker in the country. But, while Europe accounts for more than half of SodaStream’s sales, it is also selling well in the US, with nearly 3,000 Walmart stores across America stocking the gizmo.

Now, SodaStream is having a renewed marketing push and, while is has been on the market in various guises since the turn of the century, it is currently a sleek appliance that would look at home in most SodaStream imagemodern kitchens. Curry’s has the black version on sale at the moment for £34.99, a mammoth saving of £85. Once you’ve got your machine, you can transform ordinary tap or filtered water into fizzy drinks, adding such flavours as cream soda, orange, dandelion and burdock, and strawberry.

But a row is brewing between the American firm and British broadcasters after SodaStream’s adverts were banned from UK screens.

SodaStream commercialThe kitchen gadgets company created a commercial focusing on the fact that those who use its gizmos don’t need the bottles which are used for pre-packaged sparkly drinks. It shows bottles holding carbonated drinks disappearing every time someone uses a SodaStream machine.

The Commercial was shown in the US in the world’s most high profile commercial slot during the Super Bowl and it has been cleared to be shown in 58 other countries.

But the advert cannot be broadcast in the UK because Clearcast, a trade association which SodaStream bannedapproves adverts before they are broadcast, has decided it “denigrates” fizzy drinks makers.

In a statement, Clearcast said: “The ad could be seen to tell people not to go to supermarkets and buy soft drinks, instead help to save the environment by buying a SodaStream. We thought it was denigration of the bottled drinks market.”

SodaStream is now appealing the decision and has written to culture minister Ed Vaizey. SodaStream chief executive Daniel Birnbaum described the decision as “totally absurd,” adding: “Instead of banning the advertising of bottled beverages for devastating the environment, the UK broadcasters banned our ad. By doing so, they chose to protect the beverage industry that spends millions annually on television ads.”