Too hot to handle? An "uncensored" version of Scarlett Johansson's sultry Super Bowl ad for SodaStream has been banned by Fox — but not for the reasons you might think. According to USA Today, the 30-second spot has been rejected because of four simple words: "Sorry, Coke and Pepsi."
The commercial features Her actress Johansson making her own fizzy beverage and then shimmying out of her bathrobe while seductively sucking on a straw. At the end of the ad, she looks directly at the camera and says the aforementioned sentence — which Fox apparently deemed unsuitable for air.
SodaStream CEO Daniel Birnbaum claimed to USA Today last week that the network rejected the ad "because they're afraid of Coke and Pepsi," both of which have presumably big-budget ads airing during this year's game. (As it has in years past, Pepsi is also sponsoring the halftime show.)
"What are they afraid of?" Birnbaum said. "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."
Fox, for its part, declined to comment, as did PepsiCo. A Coca-Cola spokesperson, meanwhile, said, "I can confirm we did not pressure Fox. Other than that, we don't comment on our competitors' efforts."
In any case, Johansson's participation in the commercial has been controversial from the start. SodaStream is an Israeli company that operates a factory in the West Bank settlement; it has many opponents, including international aid group Oxfam, for which the Golden Globe-nominated star is an ambassador.
In a statement posted on The Huffington Post last week, Johansson defended her involvement with the brand, saying she stands behind the SodaStream product. "SodaStream is a company that is not only committed to the environment but to building a bridge to peace between Israel and Palestine, supporting neighbors working alongside each other, receiving equal pay, equal benefits, and equal rights," she wrote.
She added: "I believe in conscious consumerism and transparency and I trust that the consumer will make their own educated choice that is right for them."
Watch the ad above, and tell Us: Do you think Fox was right to reject it?
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