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:
httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G9o07Kgbv2E
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.

Viral Videos Do Not Happen – They Are Caused

I see ad people. Walking around like regular people. They don’t see each other. They only see what they want to see. They don’t know they’re dead.

T-Mobile Conquers Trafalgar SquareI have blogged about flash mobs in the past, both in its purest form (Improv Everywhere creating street performances just for fun) – and in its commercial form (T-Mobile trying to cash in on the trend). If you do not share my notion on mind share, that’s fine. A reader of mine (which may or may not work in an ad agency) actually called these public space disruptions an “experiential advertising that actually provides real value for the audience”. Yeah, right. Reading blogs like the one by Israeli ad agency Mizbala gives you a scary glimpse into the psyche of these people. They actually call these well-funded acts ‘guerrilla marketing‘.

A couple of hours ago I received an email from Unruly Media, a London-based “viral video seeding specialist that works with global brands and agencies to harness and engage the social web”. I thought posting the email would shed some light on the behind-the-scenes activities that make a video go viral. All emphases mine:

From: Sal Azar < [redacted]@unrulymedia.com>
To: Shahar Golan
Subject: Early Warning: T-Mobile Flash Mob Assets Available to FRGDR Tonight
Date: Thursday, April 30, 2009 5:57 pm
 
Hi Shahar,
 
The next T-Mobile flash mob is happening tonight from 6-7pm in Trafalgar Square, London. It’s the follow up to the hugely successful T-Mobile Dance in Liverpool Street and we’re hoping to have live footage from the event edited and available within 2 to 3 hours of this evening’s event.
We want to make sure that the video is with influential bloggers and online commentators as soon as is humanly possible and we will send you a link to the content (and additional campaign information) the moment it’s edited and uploaded.
If you’d like me to send across the video source file or if you have any other questions about the campaign, please feel free to drop me a line.
 
We’re also looking for partners to run the clip (and the official TV ad when it launches next week) on a commercial basis. I don’t know whether you’d feel this was appropriate for FRGDR, but if you’re interested, we can give you a video player to embed, pay you an initial fee for posting the video and a small additional amount for each UK view of the clip. If this is something you’re interested in doing, please drop me a line and I can send you details of how to sign up for the campaign on the Unruly Network.
 
If you want to check us out, please take a look at http://www.unrulymedia.com. We adhere to a strict code of ethics, which you can read here: http://www.unrulymedia.com/ethics-code
Feel free to drop me a line if you have any questions, and if you’re anywhere near Trafalgar Square between 6 and 7pm, come along and join in the fun.
 
Kind regards,
Sal

Continue reading Viral Videos Do Not Happen – They Are Caused

And The 2008 Award For Best Chauvinistic Israeli Ad Goes To…

After years of raving like a lunatic, my prayers have finally been answered: I just read in the newspaper today that the Israeli branch of WIZO, the Women’s International Zionist Organization established in 1920, will start an 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 for now here are three of the top five candidates:

2008 – Mey Eden TV Ad – Bauman-Ber-Rivnay Advertising
httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EvKijJ7wC3c
Yes, we get it. It’s a Hebrew pun: an ad for a water dispenser which in Hebrew is called a water bar – so let’s book Bar Refaeli. We get it! Now, how do we get from here to the model’s crawling on the counter? Oh, yes, and let’s name it Easy, just to make sure everyone gets it.

 

2008 – ‘Free’ TV Ad – Lin & Lin Advertising
httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZWpL0oSKo4U
An ample bosom lady in the form of a snack bar tells a male snack that it is all natural so he can nosh freely. Also the Hebrew verb for nosh, Tenashnesh, is phonetically close to the Hebrew verb for fondling, Temashmesh.

 

2007 – Maxim Magazine Article – Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Maxim's Women of the IDF, July 2007In its July 2007 issue, men’s magazine Maxim featured a section called The Women of the Israeli Defense Forces. Believe it or not, this was paid for by the Israeli government as a way of introducing the country to young males who may only know it from the news. While the general idea is not without merit, the very notion that the State of Israel is in the business of pimping women, well that is pretty hard to stomach.

 

The other top two candidates announced by WIZO were a TV ad for Axe deodorant and a print ad for R3 condoms. The Axe ad, in my opinion, should not have made it to the list as the ad was not created in Israel, and the R3 ad must not have made much of an impact as I couldn’t find any trace of it.

Happy Women’s Day!

P.S.
My talented sister muses in Hebrew about misogynistic Israeli ads on her Motek2 blog.

The T-Mobile Dance: When Frozen Grand Central Meets Evolution of Dance

Since traditional advertising ceases to be effective, I am afraid the future is made out of quote-unquote guerrilla marketing like this T-Mobile ad just shot on London Liverpool Street railway station. The war over mind share rages on and in the very near future it would be impossible to leave your home without stumbling into an advertisement, and most of the time you won’t even know you’re in one.

It is a loathsome, offensive ad. Yet I can’t look away:
httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQ3d3KigPQM

Check out T-Mobile’s Life’s for Sharing YouTube channel for prep videos.

Walking Without Excessories Is Like Walking Around Naked

In the last couple of years it became common practice for Israeli newspapers to stuff themselves with supplements which look at first like genuine newspaper addition, but are actually just advertisements posing as articles. This is an effort, I assume, to give the inherit deceitful nature of advertising an air of objective news coverage.

[singlepic id=9 w=150 h=230 float=right]There is one such monthly supplement about cell phone models, one about office equipment, and a few that feature an array of products, linking fashion trends with things you can purchase. A new supplement which fits the latter is titled: URBAN – GET A LIFE STYLE [sic].
When I first laid my hands on it I thought I was reading it wrong, as I myself often feel the uncontrollable urge to tell people searching for style to get a life – and so having the very source of evil inadvertently tell the same to its readers, thinking it is a clever play on words – well, that just brightened up my day.

I started flipping through the magazine and had to really fight my gag reflex. The pages were filled with pseudo-new-age mantras, one nauseating mantra before each of the magazine sections [emphasis and capitals theirs]: It’s not who you’re sleeping with BUT where in the lodging section, Food is like desire. It’s much better in a PRETTY package! in the dining section, It’s not who you’re talking to BUT what you’re talking with in the cell phones section, There are two ways to achieve HAPPINESS: Be in love or drink fine wine in the wine section, There’s electricity in the air GET IT! – yes, you guessed it – in the electrical appliances section.

And then I hit the mother lode in the accessories section:
[singlepic id=10 w=450 h=662 float=center]
You see, it is quite rare to be able to summarize a critique into a single sentence, much rarer to be able to summarize it to a single word – but to find one such word published by the very people the critique speaks against, well that is as close to force majeure as you can find.

Yes, excessories is exactly how I would spell the unnecessary daily purchases done by people trying to fill the void in their soul, and here it comes from the advertiser’s mouth. Oh! The humanity…

Epilogue:
When I first stumbled upon the website Engrish.com which meticulously documents the Japanese’s futile attempt at mastering the English language, I laughed so hard at ‘those stupid Japanese’. I assume this is exactly what non-Israelis do when they look at us, as we also show the same negative correlation between how cool the natives revere the English language and how poor their actual English-language skills are.

Optical Illusions: Finally An Israeli Company Who Will Not Tolerate Contemporary Advertising Trends

Rabbi Raphael Halperin, owner of Optica Halperin (and a former wrestler), announced yesterday that he is cancelling the tender for the company’s advertising account. This was the first time in 19 years the company called a pitch to run its three million dollars account, but after reviewing the bids Halperin decided to continue advertising on his own, buying media as an individual.

Halperin told Maariv newspaper that he did not like any of the ad agencies’ bids, as all of them focused on changing the company – not advertising it.

I applaud Rabbi Halperin as it must be difficult to watch the current advertising trends, and say with conviction: You are all crazy, and I must be the only sane person left. While he did not elaborate, I am willing to put my money where my keyboard is and suggest each of the bids received included at least one of the following overused superficial makeovers:

The Acronym Shtick:
In lieu of creative thinking let’s just acronym the company’s Hebrew name into English letters, just like with these companies:

Matim Li   >>   ML
HaMashbir Mahsaney Ofna   >>   H&O
Lilith & Varda   >>   L&V
Avigdor Shoes   >>   AVG

The Color Shtick:
They say if you can’t make it good, make it big – and if you can’t make it big, make it red. The following companies actually paid money for this advice:

Cellcom (telecom)   >>   Purple
Pelephone (telecom)   >>   Blue
Orange (telecom)   >>   Orange
Bezeq (telecom)   >>   Blue
Mirs (telecom)   >>   Green
Hapoalim (bank)   >>   Red
Discount (bank)   >>   Green
Leumi (bank)   >>   Blue

The Logo Shtick:
One of my favorite shticks, and the one that proves ad agencies basically create their own market by convincing companies to change their logo every couple of years.
Here is a visual timeline I created for a number of leading Israeli companies, one not-so-leading company that has never changed its logo, and one organization that was brave enough to revert to its vintage logo after two years of using a new-and-improved logo.
Please note this is a draft and some dates are mere estimates.

Timeline of Israeli Logos

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 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.