Thursday, December 30, 2010

I kept waiting for the laugh track

Honestly, when I first saw this commercial, I thought I had accidentally switched to Comedy Central and was watching an old Saturday Night Live faux ad. I mean, how on Earth do you expect to sell people on the idea that making your own soda is something that A) you'd want to do, and B) is some kind of magical "Experience of a Lifetime?"

This ad reminds me of one of my favorite old Bob and Ray radio shows: The guys interview a man for a show called "I Did It Myself," who built a 200-mile pipeline connecting his basement in Upstate New York to the Atlantic Ocean so that he could draw natural sea water into a makeshift lab and make his own Iodine. The punchline is that it ends up costing the guy roughly $5000 a bottle to make the stuff, but hey, "I Did It Myself."

With the new SodaStream System, there's no more lugging those Impossible to Carry, Burdensome, Incredibly Heavy 2-Liter bottles of soda home from the store. Now all you need is an $80 SodaStream System to make your own soda at home. And it couldn't be easier- all you need is a replaceable gas canister (which is good for about sixty uses before it's exhausted) which attaches to the back of the machine. Fill the included plastic bottle with regular tap water and attach it to the front of the machine. Push down the button on the top two or three times to add carbonation to the water.

Now, remove the carbonated water from the machine. Pour a medicine-cup measure of thick, concentrated soda syrup (available God Knows Where, $4.95 each) into the bottle of carbonated water. Shake GENTLY for a few seconds. And BINGO, you've got a bottle of soda- and You Did It Yourself!!

Yes, yes, yes, this is an eco-friendly way to provide your entire family with the soda they want and (according to Americans Against Food Taxes) deserve. Except for those plastic bottles of syrup, of course. But seriously, is anyone really interested in going through all this trouble to make SODA- which is very cheap all made and placed in convenient, recyclable packages for your convenience already? I mean, at least ice cream makers allow you to experiment with different flavors, cut back on sugar, and might provide a nice little activity for you and the kiddies. But making SODA?

What's next? A kit for making our own lightbulbs at home? How about shoelaces? I'd like a machine that allows me to mix chemicals and make my own laundry soap- is that on the way?

At best, this looks like another stupid, pointless toy for upscale dickweeds with too much money to stick next to their Latte machines and Brewbots. Actually- at best, this is a very clever joke masquerading as an advertisement, and a great tribute to Bob and Ray.

After all- "An Experience of a Lifetime?" Really? That is one sad life!


  1. You know what? Soda used to be made by hand. So did ice cream. People used to grind their own coffee, too. And raise their own chickens. And cows. They churned their own butter, too.

    It was supposed to be time saving and labor saving to buy these things ready made or almost so. Why are we regressing to the 1890s? Next up -- cast iron flat irons that you heat up on the wood stove in your kitchen. Washboards?

    I can hear the sales pitch now. "No more big, bulky, heavy metal washers and dryers hogging up space in your kitchen or basement..."

  2. I have a cookbook of "secret" recipes where it tells you the ingredients and steps to make name brand stuff right at home. Everything from Reese's Cups to Big Macs. It was a gift from a relative.

    The time you wasted, the expense of buying all the ingredients... its ridiculous. For all the effort, you get a similar-tasting, way more expensive version. (I've only ever tried the Reese's Cups. Everything else is ridiculously expensive to make at home).

    In the ad, my favorite line was: "Home Refreshment System".

  3. We made Reece's peanut butter cups at home- well, more like a pan of chocolate and peanut butter we cut up like brownies- they were very good, but I don't remember having fun making them, and they were only as good as the ones you bought in the store without any fuss. As you say, there's no money or effort saved, so what's the point?

    And yeah, "Home Refreshment System." I wish I had caught that.

  4. We used to make homemade root-beer when I was a kid, and back in those days, you had to use glass bottles. Two weeks later you could enjoy a refreshing beverage that tasted nothing like the artificially flavored A&W I was accustomed to. We returned from a boating trip one weekend to discover the inside of the garage was completely covered in root-beer and reeked of a sassafras tree farm. One of the bottles exploded causing the others to ignite in uniform bliss. Those were the days...

  5. We have a SodaStream, and happened to stumble across this post looking for something else.

    It's not quite as bad as you make it out to be. On a per-ounce basis, counting all of the consumables, it *is* cheaper than canned beverages. But the big deal is that you're in control of how much fizz you impart and how much syrup you use (how strong or weak it is). You can also make your own flavors by mixing syrups, or even making your own syrups (it's no mystery - it's just sugar syrup with added flavorings and color).