Today I read an article in the Jan-Feb 2014 issue of Harvard Business Review titled, “SodaStream’s CEO on Turning a Banned Super Bowl Ad into Marketing Gold” by Daniel Birnbaum. First let me just note, I love Super Bowl advertising – like many others, I love the ads themselves, the hype around the ads, and buzz after the ads. I was really excited to read this article because I remember SodaStream’s “banned” ad. If you haven’t seen the commercial, I recommend searching YouTube for “SodaStream Banned Super Bowl” ad. It’s a great ad – tackles the competition head-on with humor and an underlying ‘green’ message.
This particular commercial went beyond just the “buzz” of being a Super Bowl ad – it was an ad BANNED from the Super Bowl. You can imagine the media frenzy and speculations that ensued. It was interesting to read the CEO’s recount of events. I truly believe the ad was not created with the intention of being banned – but rather a genuine effort at advertising the brand utilizing the most sought after traditional television advertising venue: the Super Bowl. Among several learnings Birnbaum shares, one is that PR is important. It can be more credible than advertising and Birnbaum sees it as a better investment.
As good customer experience professionals, it is paramount that we keep a close read on public opinion as it relates to our brands and companies. I think this article is a great reminder of how a challenge can also be a great opportunity. Customer experience assessments may bring to light a hurdle we were not expecting. We can address the issue not only with the original customer(s) who voiced the concern, but using PR strategically we can share our solution with other current and potential customers, as appropriate