Part 3: Viral Videos Do Not Happen – They Are Caused

If I’ve said it once I’ve said it a thousand times: It’s not a flashmob if you hire people to do it, and it’s not viral if you hire a PR company to publicize it. Long story short, for some reason PR companies think I am interested in blogging about their “Fresh Thinking & Flawless Execution” flashmobs. I am not. And so as I have done in the past, I choose to publish the email that was sent to me – and not the video, in an attempt at shedding some light on the war over mindshare.

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From: Rebecca Janoff <[redacted]>
To: Shahar Golan
Subject: Wolf Invasion Flash Mob – Last Night in Meatpacking!
Date: Friday, Feb 18, 2011 4:08 pm
Hi Shahar,
Just wanted to make sure you heard about the WOLF INVASION FLASH MOB that infiltrated the NYC meatpacking district last night, to launch the newest vodka from the Bacardi USA portfolio: ERISTOFF!
Details are below and include a link to both photos and footage. Please let me know if there is anything else you need.
Packs of Sexy She-Wolves Infiltrated NYC’s Meatpacking District amid Fashion Week Party Prowlers
WHAT: A pack of taxis converged on the intersection of 9th Avenue and West 13th Street in NYC’s Meatpacking District filled with “wolves” howling to the moon last night to celebrate the US launch of ERISTOFF – Vodka from the Land of the Wolf. Hundreds of spectators gathered on the streets to catch the scene, which erupted in a full scale flash mob to songs like She Wolf and Hungry like the Wolf. One of Europe’s most popular spirit brands, ERISTOFF is now available throughout the United States. The NYC festivities took place near midnight in anticipation of today’s full moon.
WHO: Bacardi U.S.A. and ERISTOFF Vodka, Europe’s most popular spirit brand from the “Land of the Wolf”
WHEN: Thursday, February 17, 2011 Approaching Midnight
WHERE: Meatpacking District, New York City, 9th Avenue at West 13th Street
CONTACT: Chris Walters, 917-[redacted], [redacted]
Rebecca Janoff, 917-[redacted], [redacted]
MORE: Images and video of the spectacle are available here:
About ERISTOFF(r) Vodka
Made from 100 percent pure grain, ERISTOFF(r) is triple distilled and charcoal filtered using the original recipe created in 1806 by noble Prince Eristoff of present day Georgia. Its iconic logo of the wolf howling at a crescent moon has become of symbol of the brand’s Georgian heritage and quality. ERISTOFF(r) is available in three varieties: ERISTOFF(r) Original (80 proof), ERISTOFF(r) Red (40 proof) named for its bright red color and sweet taste of sloe berries, and ERISTOFF Black (40 proof) named for its dark, bold color and taste of wild berries. ERISTOFF is available in a full range of sizes: 1.75 liter (SRP $23.99), 1.0 liter (SRP $16.99), 750 ml (SRP $13.99), 350 ml (SRP $9.99), 200 ml (SRP $5.99) and 50 ml (SRP $1.49).
Rebecca Janoff
Senior Account Executive, Lifestyle & Travel
H A R R I S O N & S H R I F T M AN
P. 917.[redacted] | F. 917.[redacted] | C. 609.[redacted]
141 WEST 36TH STREET | 12th FLOOR | NY 10018
Fresh Thinking & Flawless Execution
This email is intended only for the person or entity to which it is addressed and may contain information that is privileged, confidential or otherwise protected from disclosure. Dissemination, distribution or copying of this e-mail or the information herein by anyone other than the intended recipient, or an employee or agent responsible for delivering the message to the intended recipient, is prohibited. If you have received this e-mail in error, please immediately notify us by calling the Help Desk at (917) [redacted].

Viral Videos Do Not Happen – They Are Caused – Continued

A year and a half ago I posted a couple of emails I received from Unruly Media, a self-proclaimed “viral video seeding specialist”, urging me to publish on my blog a video of T-Mobile‘s flash mob in Trafalgar Square. I thought it was much more important to post the actual emails than the video – and so I did just that.

It goes without saying that there is nothing illegal going on. I just thought it is important to see how hype is manufactured, and that is why I am posting the following emails, received today:

From: Sam Lassman <[redacted]>
To: Shahar Golan
Subject: T-Mobile flashmob greets tired travellers at Heathrow T5
Date: Friday, October 29, 2010 11:05 am
Over the past few years T-Mobile has taken flashmobbing to new heights. In 2009 they brought Liverpool Street station to a standstill and followed it up in Trafalgar Square with a mass karaoke singalong. Now they have taken it upon themselves to welcome back hundreds of travellers to Heathrow Terminal 5.
We’re writing to you from Unruly Media to give you a heads up about the latest T-Mobile flash mob at Heathrow airport, where bleary-eyed travellers arriving home were greeted by a mob of hundreds of people clapping and singing welcome home songs.
You can watch the teaser video here:
Right now, the team at T-Mobile are putting together the full edited version which will be screened simultaneously across more than 80 digital and terrestrial TV channels at 10.15pm on Friday night. If you are interested in featuring this on FRGDR, let me know and I can send over the link to you as soon as it goes live.
We’d love to get you involved.

Sam Lassman Watts

Unruly Media
91 Brick Lane, London E1 6QL, UK
(+44) [redacted]
(+44) [redacted]
The contents of this email are confidential and the information in it may not be disclosed expect for the purpose for which it has been sent. If you have reason to believe that you are not the intended recipient of this communication, please contact the sender immediately.
Unruly Media Limited – Registered in England No. 5411297
Registered Office: 91 Brick Lane, London, E1 6QL, UK

A few hours later I got the following email:

From: Sam Lassman <[redacted]>
To: Shahar Golan
Subject: Full Video – T-Mobile flashmob greets tired travellers at Heathrow T5
Date: Friday, October 29, 2010 10:39 pm
Good evening,
As promised, here’s the link to T-Mobile’s latest foray that took them
to Heathrow Airport where singers and dancers welcomed back travellers
to an overcast London:
The ad is not due to go live until 10.15 am, so it’s exclusively
online until then. We’re also using the #t5welcome hashtag for tweets,
and we’d really appreciate it if you could include it if you’re
tweeting about the campaign.
Thanks so much for being involved!
Let me know if you have any questions, bcc-ing
[redacted] in case anyone here can respond
Have a great weekend!

Sam Lassman Watts

Unruly Media
91 Brick Lane, London E1 6QL, UK
(+44) [redacted]
(+44) [redacted]
The contents of this email are confidential and the information in it
may not be disclosed expect for the purpose for which it has been
sent. If you have reason to believe that you are not the intended
recipient of this communication, please contact the sender
Unruly Media Limited – Registered in England No. 5411297
Registered Office: 91 Brick Lane, London, E1 6QL, UK

Trololo Featured in Israeli Bank Ad

Cashing in (literally) on the Trololo meme and on the fact that ‘lo‘ means ‘no’ in Hebrew, Israeli Union Bank recently released a TV spot that encourages you to leave your refusal-happy no-saying laugh-in-your-face bank, and join a bank that says yes (or ‘ken’):


Bank Igud TV spot – Geller-Nessis

My Candidates for WIZO’s Sexist Israeli Ads for 2010

After covering WIZO’s newest annual tradition of giving out a most-chauvinistic-ad award (2008, 2009), I thought I’d one-up myself and actually suggest a couple of ads for next year’s shaming ceremony. Following are two TV spots that caught my eye, one is gratuitously sexual in a let’s-find-an-excuse-for-leering kinda way:


Israeli Lottery – Gitam BBDO

The other is much less overt, much more complex, filled with misogynistic messages about work, kids, shoes and dieting:


Osem’s Lachmit whole wheat cracker – Gitam BBDO

I should probably mention that I have discussed these ads with a couple of female friends who did not see anything particularly shocking with these ads. They did note the ads’ sexist nature, they just didn’t think it was any different from most other Israeli ads.
Obviously, I disagree.

At Times It Took Real Balls

Israeli advertisers are certain that their audience loves the look and feel of the West and believe that American and European brands are perceived as better. That’s why many Israeli ads are filmed abroad and speak English, so that they will posses the illusive je ne sais quoi. It is often the case, nonetheless, that ad agencies blow their budgets on make-up and expensive suits – and still fail at hiding the Israeli qualities they deem so inappropriate.

Take a look at this Subaru TV spot that ran in Israel and try to determine if it is, in fact, Israeli-made:

Visit Israel in Spite of Our ‘Visit Israel’ Ads

There is a long history of ‘Visit Israel’ ads that seem to miss the mark. Various organizations want the world to visit our tiny country, but apparently good intentions are just not enough, and these often result in offensive adverts. The latest spot, by the Canadian Council for Israel and Jewish Advocacy (CIJA), should get some kind of an award for bad taste:

Size Doesn’t Matter – CIJA – 2010

Following are a few more ‘Visit Israel’ ads you might find offensive. One thing I find common to all these ads is that they all probably started as funny jokes during a brainstorming session, but there were probably no adults in the room to say “Ha, ha… very funny, now let’s think harder”. Some of these were specifically aimed at quote-unquote going viral, hoping for a lot of FW: FW: FW: THIS IS FUNNY emails.

Un-holy Israel – Keta Keta – 2007

Indeed – Israel at Heart – 2005

WIZO Announces Most Sexist Israeli Ads for 2009

The Israeli branch of WIZO, the Women’s International Zionist Organization established in 1920, continues its annual tradition of announcing the most chauvinistic Israeli advertisements created during the past year. The worst ad will be announced during International Women’s Day, but the top ten finalists were revealed last week. Following are the most sexist TV spots of 2009 and while they are in Hebrew, sexism transcends language barriers:

Tempo’s Goldstar beer – McCann-Erickson Israel

Israel Post – Glickman-Nettler-Samsonov

Trima’s Postinor morning-after pill – Armoni BATES

Procter & Gamble’s Fairy liquid – Adler, Chomsky & Warshavsky

New Hamashbir Lazarchan – McCann-Erickson Israel

Porn Corn

Mama Of - Chicken and Corn Cutlet - Frame from TV ad24 frames per seconds, sometimes more, and every one of those frames is absorbed by our bodies. If you agree with my premise, you might find the following TV ad as lame as I found it to be. It advertises a chicken and corn cutlet from the Israeli ‘Mama Of’ brand. Apparently the proper way to hold two cobs of corn is very close to your chest, pointing outwards, in a vegan twist on Madonna’s infamous cone brassiere.

My very first thoughts after seeing this ad were:
– What the hell is this?
– Would make a great post for my blog
– Nah… probably my oversexed mind
…but today my trusted female source on feminism and gender issues expressed the same disgust with this ad, honing in on the exact same disturbing posture without us discussing it in the past. This assured me I was not imagining: Someone from the ad agency must have thought instilling a nippely bosom in our minds would somehow make us buy their product.

Here’s the complete ad with Gimel Yafit and her corny daughter-in-law:

Update: You can read this post in Hebrew here.

First Smart Israeli TV Ad of 2009

Israeli cable TV provider HOT has recently launched an ad campaign about its video on demand service. There are a dozen or so TV ads, but only one of them is the real McCoy: a short, smart and funny commercial that flatters the viewer’s intelligence while genuinely relating to the advertised product. Check it out:
The Hebrew caption reads: Watched an entire season of CSI

Since I usually only blog about offensive ads, I thought I would change the bitch-to-praise ratio by pointing to this rare catch. If you need your dosage of venom, go and check out one of the related posts linked below.