When we moved to Israel we bought a SodaStream. We tried a few flavors, but ultimately just use it for seltzer. Taxman drinks it straight, usually; the kids and I mix it with juice. It’s become part of the pre-Shabbat countdown, to make seltzer and put the bottles in the fridge.
Their first-ever brand spokesperson, the movie star Scarlett Johansson, has been basically telling everyone to back off the politics (yes, it’s a hot potato! Israel! Yo!) and let the 1% (just kidding, 25%, probably) have access to their SodaStream carbonation systems.
And ScarJo is the star of SodaStream’s Super Bowl ads for this year. There was one that Fox said it wouldn’t broadcast because it mentions competitors outright in the ad. (Side note: really? SodaStream is considered a competitor to Coke and Pepsi? Don’t Coca-Cola and PepsiCo own ALL THE THINGS WE DRINK, practically? Except coffee. Which, whew. I am too busy supporting evil Nestle with my coffee dollars.)
So, naturally the “banned” ad found its way to these here internets and has gotten millions of views. For free. (A different one will air in the $4 million spot in the 4th quarter on Super Bowl Sunday.)
I saw the ad today and both loved and hated it. On the one hand, ScarJo is totally spoofing the oversexualization and celebrification of everything. Because being in a sexy dress and sipping seductively will make me want to carbonate my own soda. YES! Or, no, not really. (Maybe I’m the wrong market because I’m not a 23-year-old heterosexual male?) So I got the sarcasm and the spoofing and thought it was smart and very wink, wink to the ironically inclined among us.
But the reason I hated it undid all the good work. It’s because the scriptwriters of this commercial do not think that Americans (or the millions of other viewers around the world) who watch the Super Bowl — or people who use the Internet, because that’s who is seeing this now — can handle proper English grammar and are throwing it over for a smoother delivery.
That is possibility #1.
Possibility #2 is even more enraging-slash-frightening, and that is that the scriptwriters of this commercial do not know that a mistake has been made.
Take a look:
Did you catch it? At the 12th second.
The script should be: less sugar, fewer bottles.
The script is: less sugar, less bottles.
This makes me crazy. This is not hard point of grammar, or something that comes up occasionally. This is a mistake that is repeated in almost every grocery store in United States, as express lanes merrily hang out their signs that say “10 items or less!”
No. If you can count the items, use fewer. Even it’s a lot. 10 items or fewer. The forest has fewer animals than it did 5 years ago. It’s less populated, because there are fewer animals. And so on.
I understand that I am spitting into the wind here. Nobody cares! I am raining on everyone’s parade!
But at the same time, I am raising bilingual kids in a place we speak the non-dominant language. Part of my job is to expose them to proper English. It’s already an uphill battle against Hebrew syntax. When the English they’re hearing isn’t correct, my job gets more complicated. I don’t expect anyone else to care, really, but I hate the dumbing down of everything.
So SodaStream, all the other brands, all the magazines and kids’ books, and the writers of pop songs: you can do better. Good grammar. Try it.