If You Love The Bubbles, Set Them Free

Now, I am not a huge soda drinker.  I do have the occasional Sprite when I’m out for dinner, or Coke when I’m feeling reminiscent of my time abroad in Latin America, but I really don’t drink it all that often.  Maybe it’s because I’m a college student on a pretty strict budget and don’t have room for both Nutella and Pepsi in my diet.  But one thing I did grow up with, and have become more of an active drinker of now that I am out on my own, is sparkling water.

Within the past two years or so make your own carbonated drink machines became a more desired product.  A recent commercial by SodaStream (the leading company in make-your-own-soda) brings into question the competitiveness of SodaStream verses Pepsi and Coke, the worlds leading soda companies.  The commercial below was not shown during the SuperBowl as CBS rejected it.  With Coke and Pepsi being two of the biggest advertisers during the game, perhaps CBS didn’t want to risk their support.  SodaStream now has posted on their website “watch the SodaStream commercial they wouldn’t let you see during the big game”.

The commercial starts with two delivery trucks pulling up in front of a grocery store, one for Pepsi and one for Coke.  The deliverymen load up their carts and race to get to the door first, but before they have the chance their bottles explode and with a cut to a handsome man in a dark room, as he pushes down on SodaStream a voice intones, “with SodaStream, we could’ve saved five hundred million bottles on game day alone”.

SodaStream seems to have a lot going for them.  They are targeting sustainability in their use of reusable containers, saving money by making your own soda at home, and in a day in age where many people are questioning the health factors related to sugar sweetened beverages carbonated water looks pretty good.  You can make your own soda with this machine with added sweetened packages, but according to one YouTube video I watched they contain half the amount of sugar per serving than a normal liter of Coke.  Many people are also buying the SodaStream just for carbonating water.

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It is a pretty smart deal for SodaStream.  The consumer makes an initial investment on the machine (about $80), and then has to refill the proprietary air tanks and if you’re making soda the SodaMixes, both of which you can buy at Target and Crate & Barrel.  I don’t know if it’s totally worth the money, but I do think that they are going to give Coke and Pepsi a run for their money.

With both of these two companies running on persuasive advertising, not necessarily new inventive products, and expensive costs SodaStream might be the semi- affordable switch consumers are willing to try.  Being able to make your own soda at home takes away some of the mystery soda implies, and if you can make it at home why buy it ever again?

NP 4/30

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The Perfect Cocktail

Ah, How I Met Your Mother.  Nine seasons strong and we still haven’t met the elusive mother… and yet I still watch every Monday night.  What can I say, I’m hooked!   One of todays most popular sitcoms, the five friends are fairly social, and (like some of our other “friends”) have a meeting spot where they hang out over beverages.  For these guys it’s Maclaren’s Pub.

himym

Like a lot of young professionals the group of friends is frequently seen getting a beer or two together socializing and typically solving their current dating dilemmas.  However, in this one episode Lily and Robin try to find “the perfect cocktail” to get Barney and Marshall the right kind of drunk to to reconcile after having a bad fight.

As the clip explains, each cocktail has a different effect on every member of the gang (for example red wine = self pity for Barney) so finding the perfect one to solve this situation seems difficult.

However, as I was watching this episode I started to think, is this an appropriate way to be portraying the consumption of alcohol on a show has many viewers below the legal drinking age?  Yes, drinking can be fine in moderation, and some of the time the characters on the show do portray responsible drinking.  But in this episode Lily and Robin aim to get the guys drunk so that they can resolve a problem between them.  But, does heavy drinking typically solve problems or create them?

One of the six ways that Bandura’s Social Learning Theory explains how we learn to choose one option over another is modeling.  Bandura’s “major premise is that we can learn by observing others” and he was particularly concerned with the amount of knowledge learned through modeled behaviors conducted through film and television.

How I Met Your Mother is very entertaining (I myself do own a print copy of “The Bro Code” – thanks to legendary best friend) but the portrayal of the effects of alcohol in this clip do not show the negative (hello hangover!) and potentially deadly effects of binge drinking.  The CDC defines binge drinking as “a pattern of drinking that brings a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08 grams percent or above”.  If the guys are getting drunk, they are probably ending up with a higher BAC than .08, and this episode does nothing to address how this could impact their viewers.

Where do you draw the line… is How I Met Your Mother just trying to be funny, or is their characters behavior impacting the decisions of their viewers who themselves may now be trying to find the perfect cocktail?

WP 3/22