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Volume 24 No. 155
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Fox Reportedly Rejects SodaStream Super Bowl Spot Over Line About Coke, Pepsi

Fox has "rejected this year's SodaStream Super Bowl commercial" roughly one year after CBS "took a similar action against SodaStream's spot for that game," according to Bruce Horovitz of USA TODAY. SodaStream CEO Daniel Birnbaum "bitterly complained" on Friday. He said Fox rejected the commercial "because they're afraid of Coke and Pepsi." The spot -- featuring actress Scarlett Johansson "sensually sipping her home-made soda -- got nixed because it ends with her saying, 'Sorry, Coke and Pepsi.'" Birnbaum said that that is the line Fox has "demanded that SodaStream kill." Birnbaum said, "Which advertiser in America doesn't mention a competitor? This is the kind of stuff that happens in China." Horovitz noted Coke and Pepsi, "longtime spenders on Super Bowl ads, are back in the game this year, and Pepsi also is sponsoring the halftime show." Birnbaum said that SodaStream "will drop the line." Birnbaum: "If I could get my money back, I'd be happy to be out of that deal" (, 1/25).

AMERICAN MADE: Automotive floor mat manufacturer WeatherTech on Friday said that it has "bought 30 seconds of time" for its first-ever Super Bowl commercial. The company said that the ad, called, "You Can't Do That," is "scheduled to run in the second quarter of the game and is being handled by Schaumburg, Ill.-based Pinnacle Advertising and Marketing." Pinnacle President & CEO Michael Magnusson said that WeatherTech "hired the agency four years ago, with the objective of helping them build the business to the point where it 'made marketing sense' to advertise in the Super Bowl." Magnusson said that the "focus of the ad is not on WeatherTech products, but the brand and its founder's belief in the importance of manufacturing" in the U.S. (, 1/24).

STAND UP JOB: USA TODAY's Fred Meier noted Hyundai's Elantra ad for the game "uses humor and follows the Super Bowl trend this year toward multiple celebrities in ads with a pair of comedians" in "Big Bang Theory" actor Johnny Galecki and standup comic Richard Lewis. The 30-second ad "Nice" opens with Galecki and Lewis "in a new Elantra pulling up at a light next to an identical Elantra." Hyundai's second, more "serious ad will pitch Hyundai's redesigned Genesis." The  30-second "warm and fuzzy ad highlights the car's safety features rather than its style and dramatic new front end" (, 1/25).

WHETTING THE APPETITE: In N.Y., Stuart Elliott notes teasers, previews, shorter versions and longer versions of ads before the Super Bowl "enable sponsors to more easily whet viewers’ appetites for commercials to be shown during the game." Squarespace, a web design company, "introduced on Jan. 16 a 15-second teaser version of the 30-second spot it plans for the Super Bowl." Squarespace today "intends to release the Super Bowl commercial online, on its website and on YouTube." Then, on Sunday, the company "will release, on the same platforms, a 60-second version of the Super Bowl spot." That ability to "prime the pump helps Squarespace, a first-time Super Bowl advertiser, level the playing field" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/27). The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Suzanne Vranica notes marketers are "enlisting a number of promotional gimmicks to ensure the 100-million-strong audience pays attention." Jaguar Land Rover North America VP Jeff Curry said that the company is spending roughly $5M to "promote its game-day push." Meanwhile, Anheuser-Busch InBev "blanketed the airways during the playoffs with a 15-second Bud Light ad that showed Arnold Schwarzenegger prepping for a ping pong game and wearing a blond wig and track suit" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 1/27).  

QUEST FOR THE BEST: In San Antonio, Neal Morton noted grocer H-E-B will "launch a statewide challenge for small businesses with a prime spot" to air locally during the game. The 60-second spot, which features Fox color analyst Troy Aikman, is "set for broadcast between the third and fourth quarters." It officially kicks off H-E-B's Quest for Texas Best contest to "find unique grocery items from Texas suppliers" (SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS, 1/26).