The Other SodaStream Ad You Didn't See During the Super Bowl Game
Yes, Beyonce silenced the doubters, the dad-filled Doritos ad was cute and Oprah's narration of the military-themed Jeep commercial made your eyes misty.
But the one ad you didn't see Super Bowl Sunday was a commercial by SodaStream International, which makes a countertop machine that transforms plain, flat drinks into carbonated beverages. While a SodaStream ad did air Sunday night, what you didn't view on TV was a more aggressive version that prominently features exploding bottles of clearly marked Coca-Cola and Pepsi.
(Read more: Super Bowl Business)
The unaired SodaStream ad has instead been posted on Google's YouTube and is going viral — with 3.8 million views and counting.
In the web version, two drivers pull up to a supermarket in clearly marked Coke and Pepsi delivery trucks. In another frame, a consumer mans a SodaStream machine to carbonate a beverage. Every time he pushes the SodaStream machine button, bottles of Coke and Pepsi explode in front of the supermarket.
" 'Game Changer' is the ad they wouldn't let you see during the Big Game 2013," the company said in a YouTube posting. "With SodaStream, we could have saved 500 million bottles on Game Day alone."
The message: Instead of buying dozens of plastic bottles of name-brand soda, make your own and stop filling up landfills. "If you love the bubbles set them free," according to SodaStream.
For smaller player like SodaStream — based in Airport City, a business park outside Tel Aviv, Israel — it can be challenging competing with beverage behemoths. And SodaStream isn't without moxie and recognized a marketing opportunity when CBS objected to their more aggressive ad. Their publicity team went into action, issuing news releases and drumming up publicity.
"CBS was clearly not comfortable that we were referring to Coke and Pepsi, major sponsors of the Super Bowl," said Yonah Lloyd, president of SodaStream International. A CBS spokeswoman declined to comment for this article.
The Tamer Super Bowl Version
In the less aggressive SodaStream commercial that did air during the game, soda bottles indeed explode but they're not clearly identifiable with Coca-Cola and Pepsi. And there are no drivers in clearly marked Coke and Pepsi delivery trucks. (However, the more aggressive commercial did air over the weekend on other networks.)
SodaStream's assertive take on its competitors is no accident. The company is a big opponent of the "garbage" soda bottles create. "We want to point out that it's the bottling industry that's the problem,' Lloyd said. Given the technology and innovation in home carbonation systems, "there's no need for the bottling factories to remain in existence," he said.
A lot of people, it seems, have strong opinions about soda commercials.
In late 2012, UK broadcasters banned another version of a SodaStream ad in which bottles of soda disappear from supermarket shelves. ""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," said a UK group that approves TV spots.
Reaction on YouTube
Meanwhile like any good Monday quarterback, reaction to the banned "Game Changer" SodaStream ad has been vibrant on YouTube.
Said one YouTube viewer, "CBS cut a commercial by Sodastream b/c it attacked Coke-a-Cola & Pepsi directly. Just shows you the little man has no hope of beating those already who are giants. The whole system is fixed by money."
But others disagree, arguing SodaStream should be more positive in its messaging. Said another YouTube viewer, "Well, Its nothing about freedom. Its about racking down on other companies, Its not allowed in ads. Cola and Pepsi are big because people love their product, not because people are foced to drink it. Sodastream should focus on spreading their product instead of trying to remove others."
Tell us what you think. What's your take on the SodaStream commercial that wasn't aired during the game?
— Written by CNBC's Heesun Wee. Follow her on Twitter
(Read more: 10 Startup Events to Watch in 2013)