As the Jewish new-year draws near, Israeli coffee shop chain Aroma Espresso Bar placed this full page ad in today’s papers, wishing us all a Happy New Year. Now, Israel’s official languages are Hebrew and Arabic, but the greeting appears in four languages: Hebrew, English, Arabic and Russian, so it seems the company went out of its way to make everyone feel welcome in the coming holiday.
Amharic, the mother tongue of Israeli Jews of Ethiopian descent, most of which are very observant, is missing from the ad. I would not have mentioned it, but after last year’s incident, in which Aroma’s CEO called a woman a ‘stupid, inferior black stain’ and made sure she noticed his white skin as opposed to her ‘black skin’, I’m not so sure anymore.
Over the years, the Israeli ad agencies seem less and less connected to the human experience and more and more willing to use anything to sell everything. In this list I attempt to countdown the most offensive advertisements created in Israel in recent years, in the hope of using shame as an incentive to be more creative.
2005 – Yes Satellite TV Ad – McCann Erickson
With millions of Vietnamese dead and 60,000 Americans dead, this ad counts on its viewers inability to feel any empathy to casualties of a war that is not their own.
2002 – Yes Satellite TV Ad – McCann-Kesher-Barel
With more than 1500 people who drowned in one of the worst maritime disasters, the creative genius of Israel’s leading advertising agency adds insult to injury and in an impressive juglling act puts the wheel of the liner in a woman’s hands.
We all misspell, no doubt about it, even more so when using a language other than our mother tongue. But lately it seems there is an inverse relationship between the Israelis’ infatuation with the English language, and their actual interest in mastering it. It always dazzles me how companies spend piles of money on advertisements without spending a minute to check for spelling errors. Israeli food company Elite backs its snacks campaign with a website for kids, where they can start their own blog and get popularity votes for it. I can only speculate what is the effect of a kid typing daily www.tatoomania.co.il and then going off to the world wondering why everyone is spelling it with three T’s.
And don’t get me started on sticker tattoos for kids, kiddie blogs as pedophile hangouts, the unnecessary rating system on that website, or the fat contents in the snacks you need to buy to get the tattoo.
This is a screenshot of an ad for 'Sexy Girls in Kefar Habad' (photos blurred by me), supposedly trying to lure me for some pr0n by an IP-to-city query. Nevermind that I do not live near Kefar Habad, but I doubt there are many sexy girls looking for fun there – as it is an all ultra-Orthodox Jewish village in central Israel.