Not sure why, but many Israelis have an aversion to the English language; “If it’s in English – I won’t read it” they tell me (in Hebrew). Myself? Although it is not my native language, I use English around the web to allow the entire world to understand what I am saying. And so I had to devise a plan, a hack if you will, to post Facebook status updates in English for the benefit of my multiculti friends, while not bothering my Israeli friends too much.
Luckily, Facebook allows you to put your friends into lists, and allows each friend to belong to more than one list. And so, in addition to my regular lists (‘family’, ‘workplace’ etc), I created a ‘HEBREW‘ list and an ‘ENGLISH’ list and attributed a language to a friend; I even put some of my more gifted friends under both languages.
[singlepic id=277 w=512 h=128 float=center]
After that, posting something in English without my Hebrew-only friends being bothered is as easy as setting the privacy of the status update to ‘ENGLISH’. Sometimes, when I blog in English and post a Hebrew translation on another blog, I publish a status update in English with a link to the English post – and an additional status update, with its custom privacy set to ‘HEBREW; except: ENGLISH‘. Thus, making sure each of my friends only sees one status update, in the language he or she prefers.
Avid readers of my blog know all about my disdain for Engbrew, the English/Hebrew language that threatens to replace the holy tongue. Based on a child-like fascination with the American culture, many Israelis think speaking English-peppered Hebrew makes them seem more intelligent. Yes, just like the people who think wearing glasses makes you look smarter, many Israelis think that the more English words, terms and idioms they use while talking to their peers, the more cool they seem.
Last night, as I was watching a news report about the new Israeli cell phone company modu, my jaw dropped when one of the executives started speaking Engbrew:
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.
As much as Israelis love English, Israeli business-owners like English puns and play on words better. Well, not really play on words, but what they perceive to be a clever play on words.
How about an Israel cosmetics company that apparently wanted to stress how inexpensive its products are, and came up with the ingenious name of Beauty-Free Cosmetics.
Yes, they wanted the customer to make a connection between the beauty products and the cost of similar products sold in the airport Duty-Free shops. These people love English so much they did not bother to check the meaning of ‘duty’ or ‘free’, and so they are now selling cosmetic products without beauty.