Scarlett Johansson has already been forced to fend off controversy over her endorsement of the soft drink product SodaStream because the company has a manufacturing plant in an Israeli settlement on the WestBank.
Now, the big Super Bowl ad in which Scarlett Johansson slurps suggestively on a straw while consuming the beverage has been banned by the Fox Network, which will carry this year’s big game, Deadline Hollywood reports.
But why? The ban has nothing to do with SodaStream’s political affiliations or Scarlett Johansson’s positions on Israeli-Palestinian relations — for the record, Johnasson said Monday that she is “a supporter of economic cooperation and social interaction between a democratic Israel and Palestine.”
Nor is Fox’s refusal to show the ad a reaction to Scarlett Johansson’s sexy sipping action which, let’s face it, is PG-rated at most. Not even PG-13.
No, Fox refuses to show the ad because of the four words with which Scarlett Johansson concludes the 30-second spot.
She says, “Sorry, Coke and Pepsi.”
SodaStream is a product that lets consumers mix their own sodas, adding carbonation and flavoring to plain water. Whether it can directly compete with Coke and Pepsi, even with the power of an endorsement from the 29-year-old “Sexiest Woman Alive” is an iffy proposition. But apparently, the very suggestion was enough to give Fox the jitters.
“What are they afraid of?” SodaStream CEO Daniel Birnbaum said, quoted in Entertainment Weekly. “Which advertiser in America doesn’t mention a competitor? This is the kind of stuff that happens in China. I’m disappointed as an American.”
EW suggests, however, that Birnbaum is only feigning outrage. The video is already going “viral.” The Scarlett Johansson ad went up on YouTube Monday and has snce gathered more than 2 million views. Of course, that’s impressive for YouTube, but a pittance compared to the Super Bowl audience, which according to Forbes Magazine is expected to top last year’s viewership of 108 million.
Check out the “uncensored” version of the ad, above. Fox will air a version of the Scarlett Johnasson SodaStream ad with those final, allegedly offending words clipped out.