When even Bill Nye is shook, you know it’s a big deal. SodaStream discovers water on Mars in their Super Bowl 54 commercial, until it all gets kinda…flushed away.
Someone cue that David Bowie song. For the first time in six years, SodaStream returned to the Super Bowl. In what will probably be the most cinematic commercial of the 2020 Super Bowl, SodaStream’s ad sees astronauts exploring Mars, only to discover that there is water on the red planet. The discovery, as said by Bill Nye himself, “changes everything” until…a mishap from someone named Mark sends everyone back to square one. If anything, the commercial proves just how easy it is to make your own sparkling water with SodaStream.
If the spot seems like it was a short film, that’s because it was directed by the Academy Award-nominated director Bryan Buckley. He was just nominated for his live-action short film Saria, and his Director of Photography is Rodrigo Prieto, who was also nominated for an Oscar (for The Irishman). On top of that, the spot features an actual Mars astronaut, 18-year-old Alyssa Carson, an astrobiology student training to head to the red planet.
There’s also an environmental message behind this commercial. SodaStream estimates that by 2025, the company will eliminate 67 billion single-use bottles on this planet, “so we won’t have to go looking for a new one,” it says in a press release.
“Is Mars worthy of exploration?” Bill Nye said in the teaser for SodaStream’s Super Bowl commercial. “Absolutely. But, scientifically speaking, sending human beings to Mars is pretty far off.” The “Science Guy” looked offscreen after someone said something, and he realized that he “may be wrong about that.” Actually, manned exploration of the big red planet is still a while away, but travel to Mars, Pennsylvania is relatively easy. In fact, if someone lives in Mars, PA, and they tweet @SodaStream on Super Bowl Sunday, they’ll get a free SodaStream.
This is SodaStream’s first Super Bowl ad since 2014 and the first time since it was acquired by PepsiCo (who bought the brand in 2018 for a reported $3.2 billion.) Actually, SodaStream’s ad didn’t air during Super Bowl. In the commercial, spokeswoman Scarlett Johansson demonstrated the do-it-yourself soda brewing machine. At the end of the ad, she says, “Sorry, Coke and Pepsi,” taking shots at the rival soda brands and their use of sugar. SodaStream claimed that Fox, the channel airing the Super Bowl that year, wanted SodaStream to cut that final line before it would air the commercial.
Similarly, SodaStream’s 2013 commercial went unaired because it called out Coke and Pepsi (and used both brand’s logos in its ad.) Considering that Pepsi has is the official sponsor of the Super Bowl Halftime show, one could infer that these requested cuts were made as a favor for the big soda brand (while AdWeek noted Coke said it did not request and limitations on competitor ads.) The “banning” might have worked in SodaStream’s favor. They posted these “uncensored” ads on YouTube, drew in viewers without having to spend millions for airtime, and developed a “rebellious” reputation. Of course, now that they’re within the PepsiCo umbrella, it’s less shade and more science.