Aroma Espresso Bar Wishes Some of You A Happy New Year

Aroma Espresso Bar Wishes Some of You A Happy New Year | MaarivAs 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.

Israeli Advertising Agencies’ Most Annoying Habits: Inventing New Words

One of my biggest pet peeves is the Israeli advertising agencies’ never-ending attempt to make us use words they just invented. It seems that all agencies use this beaten old trick, which usually comes in the form of combining two Hebrew words into one (a portmanteau) and pummeling it over and over into the brains of unsuspecting TV viewers. Some advertisers go to the extent of inventing whole new words from scratch, a trick that does not work with anyone above the age of twelve. In most cases this pretentious trick is used while trying to sell something no one needs, or when the advertising client have no earthly idea why anyone would use his services over his competitors.

Does it count as delusions of grandeur when you invent meaningless, useless words and expect people to use them? Here are some examples of this nasty habit, published here in the hope of using shame as an incentive to be more creative:

2004 – Dan Design Center TV Ad – Stakalala


Phrases: tormofau, bravole, stakalala, darmushe, shasto
SEO: טורמופרב, טורמופאו, ברוולה , סתקללה, סתקללה לאללה, סטקללה, דרמושה, שסטו, שאסטו

2005 – Schoko Shock – Boker Shock


Phrase: boker shock (instead of boker tov / Good Morning)
SEO: בוקר שוק, בוקר טוב, שוקו שוק, שוקושוק

2007 – Yamit 2000 – Spark


Phrase: spark (a portmanteau of spa and park)
SEO: ימית 2000, ספארק המים, ספרק, ספא, פארק, פרק

2006 – Ruppin Academic Center – Mehandel

2006 - Ruppin - Mehandel

Phrase: mehandel (a portmanteau of mehandes / engineer and menahel / manager)
SEO: רופין, מכללה, מכללת, מהנדס, מנהל, מהנדל

2002 – Lapam – Pasim Lev


Phrase: pasim lev (instead of tasim lev / Pay Attention)
SEO: פסים לב, תשים לב

2005 – Avis – Tsidrug

2005 - Avis - Tsidrug

Phrase: tsidrug (a portmanteau of tsi / fleet and shidrug / upgrade)
SEO: אויס, אוויס, צידרוג, צדרוג, צי, שדרוג, שידרוג

2002 – Bagel Bagel – MemaCracker


Phrase: MemaCracker (a portmanteau of memaker / addictive and cracker)
SEO: ממכר, מקרקר, קרקר, ביגל, בייגל, בייגלבייגל, ביגלביגל

End of Part 1

The Last Days of Pompeii, by Louis Vuitton

Mikhail Gorbachev, the last president of the USSR, is making a print ad for Louis Vuitton. This comes a decade after his infamous TV ad for Pizza Hut. Either I don’t understand this new world, or I am just in denial for not liking what I see. It seems that everything and everyone is for sale: our history is for sale along with world leaders selling baggage, our childhood is for sale along with songs we grew up with now turning into soft-cheese-selling anthems.

Mikhail Gorbachev Loves Louis Vuitton

Ehud Barak, Israel’s former prime minister, (Mazal Tov: he just got remarried this Friday), took a lot of grief for his decision to embark on a business career after his 2001 defeat in the general elections. But at least he made his millions of dollars lecturing abroad about world leadership and national security, subjects that are right up his alley. What kind of cachet does Gorby bring to Louis Vuitton? What does his participation in an advertisement campaign for bags for rich people do, other than say 'everything I ever stood for is crap'. It seems that even world renowned photographer Annie Leibovitz, could not mask his what-the-hell-am-I-doing-here face, with his hand holding the door handle looking like he wants to bolt from that limo.

Top Ten Most Offensive Israeli Ads

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.

Continues here.

Top Israeli Advertisement Campaign Fiascos

2005 – Cellcom I Mode – McCann Erickson
Three million dollars to teach Israelis to count to three in Japanese


Israeli wireless telecom provider Cellcom imported from Japan DoCoMo’s I Mode, a cellular content platform. Sure of itself, as companies tend to be in this period of late capitalism, the company did not bet on its customers’ positive experiences to gradually conquer the market. Instead Cellcom spent 3 million dollars (count them, ichi, ni, san million dollars) on a marketing campaign that would not stop.
After weeks of broadcasting a teaser, promising, how cliché, ‘the next big thing’, the company used TV ads to introduce the technology, and newspaper ads to explain why we must have it.
Surely enough, with so much hubris – the wrath of the gods had to produce a tragic end. The service was a complete failure and people today do not even remember what Cellcom I Mode is.

2005 – Tnuva – Shoko Shock Milk Chochlate Drink – McCann Erickson
10 million dollars to downgrade a succesful product


Leading Israeli food company Tnuva, have launched a new product, investing 8 million dollars in research and development, and 1.5 million dollars in marketing. This might be a good example of ad agencies creating a need for their own services, as the new product, Schoko Shock, replaces two older products, Schoko Carlo, and Schoko Buddy, which were very popular. Of course, Tnuva could not be bothered with its customers trying out the product and deciding for themselves. Oh, no, the company would have none of that. Instead, as part of the marketing campaign, the company published an apology in the newspaper, falsely stating it cannot produce the product fast enough, as it is flying off the shelves.
Surely enough, with so much hubris – the wrath of the gods had to produce a tragic end. After so much money spent, the new product sold less than the old products, as it did not have their good reputation.

End of Part 1

Hey Nimrod! Where’s my AVG shirt?

I wanted to ask a question, in response to the obscene trend of changing to English every single Israeli brand and product, in a futile attempt to give it some vague American chic – which of these two Israeli fashion companies, bearing Hebrew biblical names, look more stupid after their rebranding:
Avigdor clothes company[Origin: 1-Chronicles 4:4 – Meaning: Father protection], who absurdly shortened its name to AVG – or Nimrod shoe company[Origin: Genesis 10:8 – Meaning: Rebellion, a Mesopotamian king], who stopped spelling its name in Hebrew, thus donning an undesirable second meaning.

Avigdor turns into AVGWho's the real Nimrod? You Decide!Nimrod dons an additional meaning

Engbrew Flavored Potato Chips

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. An excerpt from the TV ad for the Tatoomania campaign 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 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.

You Gotta Love IP-Based Advertisement

Sexy Girls in Kefar HabadThis 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.



Absolut Israeli Elections 2006

I participated in a group exhibit in light of the coming Israeli elections held this week (Tuesday). A couple of months ago we started a project which uses the visual language of the well known Absolut Vodka advertisement campaign, to let each participant show his stand on a chosen political issue or party. With so many disgruntled people, some of the produced photos were a bit on the cynical side ;)

Absolut Hope.

All the participating images are ‘straight photography’, shot on 4×5″ Sinar cameras – and aside from some minor Photoshop retouching, what you see is exactly what was shot in the studio. The entire project was featured on Israel’s leading photography magazine, Contact (now discontinued).