Fox has banned a SodaStream Super Bowl ad starring Scarlett Johansson, complaining it takes a direct hit at competitors.
The commercial for the Israeli-founded product included Johansson, a Jewish starlet, using her sex appeal in hopes of making the ad go viral. At the end, she says, “Sorry, Coke and Pepsi.”
Coca-Cola and Pepsi are both major contributors to the Super Bowl and Fox programming, leading to Fox’s decision to pull the ad. Now, the company will reportedly remove the offending line, allowing the commercial to appear in some form.
“What are they afraid of? 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,” said SodaStream CEO Daniel Birnbaum.
Super Bowl prep has a history of leading to banned commercials—perhaps most notably for GoDaddy—which often draws more publicity to the product in effect.
This isn’t the first bout of controversy to come out of the Johansson-SodaStream pairing. The actress received criticism from the boycott movement over her work with the Israeli product, which Johansson responded to with condemnation.
“I remain a supporter of economic cooperation and social interaction between a democratic Israel and Palestine,” she said.
“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. That is what is happening in their Ma’ale Adumim factory every working day.”