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.

Top Ten Most Offensive Israeli Ads – Part 2

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.

While part 1 of this list focused on ads that were particularly insensitive towards historical tragedies of other nations, part 2 focuses on ads that use sexual harassments and hints of pedophilia as their storyline. Every time each of the following ads was criticized by the media and by consumers, the admen had the same exact response, claiming it was all done with a tongue-in-cheek approach, accusing the critics of being humorless sticks-in-the-mud.

2006 – Chipsi Free TV Ad – McCann Erickson

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=71sT12KwS84

A young boy in a Hugh Heffner bathrobe tells his mom to relax as he gets a visit from two teenage blondes. Had it been a young girl getting a visit from two high school guys, there is no doubt in my mind there would have been cries of pedophilia.

2008 – Nescafé Taster’s Choice TV Ad – McCann Erickson

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XIPk2aad874

The new Mrs. Robinson apparently now has a craving for instant coffee and a different bachelor, dispensing sexual innuendos that would have been considered too shallow and obvious by 1980s porn directors. Nothing new, just your run-of-the-mill insult to intelligence.

2008 – Kotex Dry & Soft Night TV Ad – McCann Erickson

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oAX0rDqLCdo

This is another example of a brainstorming joke that should have never left the ad agency’s conference room. Parents watching this ad with their kids are not only forced to answer questions about doggy style and the meaning of 69, but are also forced to try and explain how sexual positions correlate to female hygiene products. Totally inappropriate.

2007 – Lighting Warehouse TV Ad – Inbar-Merhav-Shaked

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JS1muFSM8ZU

Miki Buganim, an Israeli hairstylist and a D-List celebrity, harasses salesmen with lighting-related sexual innuendos, looking for something for his bedroom, appreciating the fact that it bends – the light fixture, that is – and upon hearing about the 70% discount, stating he would have also agreed to 69.
Since I find a good portion of all Israeli ads to be superficial and insulting to the intelligence, I actually consider this ad to be refreshing, believe it or not. Buganim, an effeminate gay guy, sexually harassing other people in a commercial, is actually progress in a twisted kinda way. Just like gay couples who want to hop on the marriage wagon, clearly seeing that half of the straights experience buyer’s remorse – when a gay guy sells, you know Israeli society had made some progress.

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.

Heap of Garbage – Israeli YouTube-Wannabe and Its Pathetic Promotional Campaign

Heap of Garbage: heep ad on MySpaceHeap of Garbage: heep ad on YouTubeI have noticed a recent trend with the ads I am being shown while surfing. Whether I am on Gmail, YouTube or MySpace, I often see ads for heep.co.il, a lame Israeli YouTube-wannabe, and those ads always leave a bitter after-taste. While each ad might be different, they have something in common: all of them insinuate that at the other end of a single mouse-click there are plenty of videos waiting to cater to your every voyeuristic need. Now I am no prude. I can handle porn ads as much as the next guy, but I don’t like them served to me on regular mainstream websites (via Google). I think this sly way of trying to lure you into their website is pathetic.
Heap of Garbage: heep ad on Gmail
YouTube got to where it is today by hard work which created positive word of mouth – but I guess the heep guys over at heep think the Israeli weather is just too hot for actual honest work.

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.

Everyone?

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

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XQ9YjDFAtV4

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

2005 – Schoko Shock – Boker Shock

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CgqMCe3YHRg

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

2007 – Yamit 2000 – Spark

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

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

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_tmSvg2ML8E

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

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

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

End of Part 1