Friday 23rd November 2012 (updated Tuesday 4th December)
SodaStream submitted a finished filmed ad to us for approval on Tuesday 20th November without a pre-production script. On Thursday 22nd November we had been able to review it against the BCAP code and concluded we were unable to approve it. In our view, its visual treatment denigrated other soft drinks which put it in breach of the BCAP code (Rule 3.42).
We note that some commentators have suggested that this rule should not apply to categories of product, however the ASA have upheld complaints about denigration of a whole product category (such as this adjudication).
Environmental issues were not relevant to that decision.
It has been reported that Clearcast were put under pressure from soft drinks companies to not approve this ad, but we'd like to make it totally clear that Clearcast has had no contact with any other parties in the sector on this issue. Each ad is considered on its merits against the BCAP code and Clearcast maintain strict confidentiality in discussions with advertisers regarding their ads.
There has also been a suggestion that Clearcast made a decision at the eleventh hour. However in this case, SodaStream left insufficient time for clearance of the advertisement. Advertisers should ensure that copy is submitted in good time as we need to ensure both that ads comply with the code and that advertisers are able to support any claims made.
In the event of the advertiser presenting us with amended copy we will work closely with them to agree an acceptable treatment.
UPDATE: (Tuesday 4th December 2012)
Advertisers are always entitled to appeal the clearance decision on their ads and in this case, SodaStream decided to appeal Clearcast's decision at Copy Committee on Monday 3rd December.
The Committee, made up of representatives from the broadcasters, agreed with Clearcast's initial decision that the ad denigrates the soft drinks industry and is a breach of rule 3.42, so the ad remains unapproved for broadcast in its current form. The decision at Copy Committee is final. Clearcast will happily work with SodaStream in the future to work towards an alternative solution, acceptable for broadcast.
Notes to Editors
Owned by the UK’s six largest commercial broadcasters, Clearcast’s mission is to simplify the process of getting audio-visual ads to the screen. Incorporating experience gained over fifty years, it builds on being a long-term partner in the creative process for advertising.
Clearcast approves TV, Video on Demand and Teleshopping ads on behalf of its shareholders and broadcaster clients, ensuring the BCAP and CAP codes are met. In 2011 Clearcast considered around 32,000 scripts and viewed 64,000 commercials.
Clearcast provides a number of other copy related services such as training, bespoke clearances and a pitch advisory service and also offers technical services such as onlineflashtest.com and edit-to-clear for clocking, supers and some edits. Their TV Admin service is for clearances across media and Europe, including playouts and their Campaign Planning service is for advertisers and agencies that need strategic help with getting campaigns right from the start, or when more dedicated help is required.
Clearcast also commissions the CARIA™ campaign management system from IMD Optimad for television services within the UK and Ireland and our investment means that the core service is provided free of charge to buying and creative agencies.
Clearcast also run the Attribution service which underpins the analysis of television advertising in the UK.