The International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) is attempting to stifle a new SodaStream ad, titled Shame or Glory, which features characters from Game of Thrones.
The ad – with Thor Bjornsson, who plays Ser Gregor Clegane, AKA The Mountain, and Hannah Waddingham, who plays Septa Unella, Queen Cersei’s chief tormentor from last season – also stars comedian Ross Hatt and SodaStream CEO Daniel Birnbaum.
But it’s theme of shaming those who buy bottled water in single-use plastic bottles, known to contaminate the planet, is what has the IBWA, which represents companies such as Nestle, fuming.
President and General Counsel for IBWA, Joseph K Doss, says SodaStream “makes false, misleading, and disparaging statements about bottled water. The IBWA strongly objects to these statements and demands that SodaStream immediately cease and desist showing this video”.
Doss says “people should not be shamed for making healthy beverage choices and should rather be commended”. He says IBWA believes the public should not be discouraged from consuming bottled water which is safer and healthier than sugary options such as soft drinks, energy drinks and juices.
But Birnbaum disagrees. “We will not let the IBWA’s threats stop us from trying to save the planet,” he said in – a statement. “The IBWA, a front for major plastic manufactures like Nestlé the world’s largest producer of bottled water – is nothing more than an elite group of like-minded corporate sponsors who prioritise their own profits over the care of our planet. I don’t know what’s more offensive: The notion that a huge corporate organisation thinks it can silence a small company or that the message they want gagged is that plastic bottles represent a real threat to the environment.”
The video has already been viewed over 20 million times since launching in mid November. It features a production assistant on a mission to buy sparkling water from a local supermarket. He is pursued by Hannah Waddingham as Game of Thrones character Septa Unella, who rings the bell of shame and repeatedly shouts “shame” at the assistant. When the assistant finally reaches the set, fellow Game of Thrones actor Thor Bjornsson explains the benefits of using a SodaStream machine and fresh, local tap water instead of the shameful habit of using and throwing away plastic water bottles.
More than one billion beverage bottles are used every single day around the world, the overwhelming majority of that plastic ends up in our landfills, parks and oceans.
In a statement issued by the department of environmental affairs on World Oceans Day this year, “estimates suggesting that there are currently over 13 000 pieces of plastic litter floating on every square kilometre of ocean have been reported by UNEP in 2005. South Africa is not immune to the problem and the effects posed by marine litter.
“Our new video ’Shame or Glory’ uses humour and surprise to challenge the epidemic use of plastic, single-serve bottles that are polluting our Earth. More than one billion beverage bottles are used every single day around the world, the overwhelming majority of that plastic ends up in our landfills, parks and oceans. This is a crime and its largely going unchallenged” Birnbaum said when the video was launched.
“I take this issue very personally and that’s why I chose to participate in this video. But the good news is that we have fresh tap water in most parts of the world and it’s easy and economical to enjoy delicious water and even sparkling water made at home without having to pollute the Planet. Millions of people are already using SodaStream and doing their part to reduce ocean-killing plastic waste – that’s why we’re the world’s largest sparkling water brand – and we hope many more will follow their lead. Disposable plastic bottles are a shameful habit that belongs to the past.”
Thor Bjornsson added, “Fresh, high-quality tap water is my preferred beverage. I’ve been using SodaStream to create fresh sparkling water at home since I was a kid, and I encourage everyone to do the same. With SodaStream you can take advantage of this amazing natural resource, given to us by Mother Earth, and stop shamefully using polluting plastic bottles.”