SodaStream ad containing swearing and 'misleading' claims banned

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A SodaStream ad featuring The Mountain from Game Of Thrones and the phrase "f*** plastic bottles" has been banned following complaints that it was offensive and irresponsibly targeted.

The video, seen on YouTube and as a shared post on a complainant's Facebook feed, shows a man buying bottled water in a supermarket where a woman shouts "shame" at him and a child makes a throat-slitting gesture, before delivering it to The Mountain on a film set, where the actor lectures him on the environmental harm of plastic.

The Mountain, played by actor Hafthor Julius Bjornsson, says: "With SodaStream you can make sparkling water at home at the touch of a button ... without carrying heavy plastic bottles and pissing off Mother Earth. Can you hear the dolphins cry? SodaStream. F*** plastic bottles."

A related web page claimed one SodaStream bottle saved the average household 2,190 bottles from being landfilled or "ending up in our parks and beaches" over its three-year lifespan.

The National Hydration Council and two members of the public complained that the ad was offensive, distressing and irresponsibly targeted and said the claims exaggerated the environmental benefits of SodaStream.

SodaStream said the ad was a parody of the Game Of Thrones scene when Cersei Lannister was forced to walk naked through the streets as punishment for adultery, and the swearing was typical of the language used in the TV series.

It said a child would not have been able to view the ad on YouTube unless they were using an account for which the user was registered as over 25, and it had not been actively promoted on Facebook.

YouTube said the ad was a violation of its advertising policies and they had taken steps to ensure that the campaign did not run again on the platform in future.

Facebook said the ad was in violation of its advertising policies and had been removed.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) concluded the ad had been irresponsibly targeted on YouTube and on Facebook.

It also found that the claim that consumers could save 2,190 plastic bottles over a three-year period by using SodaStream had not been substantiated and was therefore misleading.

The ASA ruled that both ads must not appear again in the forms complained about, adding: "We told SodaStream to ensure that their ads were targeted appropriately and to avoid using language that was likely to cause serious or widespread offence.

"We also told them to ensure that they held sufficient evidence to support all objective claims made in their advertising."