Scarlett Johansson's ad was banned from the Super Bowl!
Actress Scarlett Johansson’s new ad for beverage firm SodaStream has been banned from the Super Bowl telecast this weekend because it mocks the event’s main sponsor, Pepsi.The star recently signed on as the face of the brand and filmed a TV spot, in which she uses the SodaStream machine to make herself a fizzy drink and seductively sips the beverage through a straw.
The Super Bowl ad bosses had no problems with sexy Scarlett, but they didn’t like the end of the ad, when the actress utters an apology to SodaStream’s competitors: “Sorry Coke and Pepsi,” and now the 30-second clip has been rejected by broadcasting bosses at Fox, the network that will air Sunday’s big football game.
Johansson’s deal with SodaStream has already attracted headlines for other reasons – this week the actress was forced to defend her decision to represent the Israel-based firm while maintaining her role as an Oxfam Ambassador amid the ongoing unrest in the Middle East.It seems its celebrity ambassador, Scarlett Johansson, has signed an advertising deal with SodaStream International Ltd, an Isreali company operating in the West Bank. According to the blog, The Electronic Intifada, the move has causedan "internal revolt" at Oxfamand the organisation's own websitealludes to the conflicted positionit finds itself in:
"We are proud of our relationship with Scarlett Johansson [and] Oxfam respects the independence of our ambassadors. However Oxfam believes that businesses that operate in settlements further the ongoing poverty and denial of rights of the Palestinian communities that we work to support. Oxfam is opposed to all trade from Israeli settlements, which are illegal under international law."
Despite the high profile of both the NGO and its celebrity ambassador, this would just be internal politics, under unique circumstances – except, of course, it isn't. Development researcher, Jonathan Glennie, tweeted as he shared the Electronic Intifada blog: "Was same when I was at @savechildrenuk."
And there are other examples of staff concerned about what affliation with a particular celebrity could mean. A Unicef officer in New Delhi isquoted in the Guardian as saying: "It's bad enough having to accommodate celebrities and their entourage in the aftermath of every major humanitarian disaster. But when most people think of the UN now they think of Angelina Jolie on a crusade, not the work that goes on in the field after humanitarian disasters or on a long-term preventive level."
While there is no doubt that celebrity endorsement yields financial dividends for NGOs and can raise the profile of a cause, it can also infuriate staff and create tensions with communities in which the organisation works. So what should Oxfam do? Take our poll and tell us your experiences or thoughts on celebrities and NGOs in the comment threads below.