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19 Comments

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Is Selling Israel With Small Penis Jokes Bad Taste or Good Marketing?


Conventional wisdom tells us that linking anything to small penis size is never a good idea. “Size Doesn’t Matter,” a tongue-in-cheek promotion of Israeli tourism targeting young Canadians made by the Canadian Federation of Jewish Students, isn’t conventional.


The video, depicting a young couple seemingly chatting about oral sex and the small size of the guy’s equipment (or are they?), first surfaced on Vimeo, and is still alive and well on YouTube after disappearing from the former video site today. The associated Size Doesn’t Matter website is loaded with photos of models, artists, and concerts, as well as the more traditional tourist attractions. Menus list Israel’s achievements in science and technology, environmental protection, and civil rights—standard fare for a tourism site.
According to Rebecca Cherniak of the Canadian Federation of Jewish Students (CFJS), the purpose of the campaign is to reverse the low opinion of Israel on college campuses by encouraging students to be curious about the country. The Federation believes this curiosity will help counter the negative press that Israel has received over the years. “After seeing the video we hope students will visit sites such as Size Doesn’t Matter in order to learn more about the country, and come to their own conclusions about Israel’s actions and role in the Middle East.”
In the last few days, the video has been viewed over fifteen thousand times and attracted over three thousand visitors to the website; both have generated plenty of criticism. Neal Ungerleider, a New York–based journalist and blogger who specializes in Mid-East affairs, wrote on True/Slant that “it is hard to believe even a single viewer will show interest in visiting Israel or have a higher opinion of Israel because of the ad.” His remarks are typical.
“We knew the campaign would be risky,” says Cherniak, but the Federation’s goal was to create buzz on the ‘net and within social media venues such as Facebook and Twitter.
That, and this campaign is only the beginning.
Coordinated by Hillel (a Jewish student organization) and other federations including CFJS, Jewish university students are coordinating a Canada-wide campaign against the sixth annual Israeli Apartheid Week, which runs the first week of March. Size Doesn’t Matter is the first phase of CFJS’s marketing blitz, and will be followed by The Truth Campaign, which runs in early March, and an as-of-yet unrevealed third phase involving social media.
“Our next video,” says Cherniak, “will take the viewers from an office scene to a bedroom scene.” Provocativeness, presumably, ensues.

CORRECTION: FEBRUARY 23, 2010 This article originally said that the campaign against Israeli Apartheid Week, which CFJS is part of, was coordinated in part by the Canadian Council for Israel and Jewish Advocacy; in fact, that is not the case.

Comments

  • http://www.torontoist.com David Topping

    A small correction above; we said that the Canadian Council for Israel and Jewish Advocacy was one of the coordinators of the campaign against the Israel Apartheid Week that CFJS is taking part in, but it’s not.

  • http://undefined Jason

    It’s good marketing if you make it sound like it’s a controversial topic, making their marketing efforts that much more effective. Either way, as interesting as this story may be, I’m not seeing how this is the least bit relevant to Toronto – isn’t this the kind of thing you’d be more likely to see in the Globe?

  • http://undefined Ryan

    I think it’s clever how they cover up the West Bank with the letter ‘S’, at least in the logo. Just a small example of how creativity is the key to solving potential problems in politics.

  • http://undefined Rachel Lissner

    Agreed. As interesting to some people as this may be, I really don’t see why it’s on Torontoist as it has very little to do with Toronto.

  • http://paul.kishimoto.name Paul Kishimoto

    I don’t see how this can be effective. The IAW people are saying (rather stridently), “Israel is doing things in Palestine that are bad and avoidable.” The campaign seems to say, in response, “Look at all this neat stuff we’ve got.” But that’s a non-response, since it omits mention of the complaint which prompted it. Most people will recognize this as an attempt to change the channel, and some won’t be happy with it.
    Also, the CFJS should know that hitting its URL without the postfixed “site.html” results in a 404 error.

  • http://undefined davedave

    Horrible idea
    Horrible strategy
    Horrible cliche
    Horrible script
    Horrible acting
    Horrible ad
    Horrible.

  • http://undefined davedave

    I forgot
    Horrible music
    Horrible logo (with horrible grammar – missing an apostrophe, capitalization fail)
    Horrible typography

  • http://undefined picard102

    Israel a paradise? What are they smoking.

  • rek

    It would seem to me that the low opinion of Israel held by post-secondary students is due to their already-existent curiousity.

  • http://undefined davedave

    Oh, and one more thing:
    “The Truth Campaign”
    If just one of you bright eyed and bushy tailed students had taken 4 seconds to simply type in thetruth.com, you would have seen one of the largest, most famous, longest running anti-smoking advertising campaings on the planet.
    That you lack the imagination/creativity to have an original thought, since your intention is to disseminate information in an arena that demands both.
    But then again, you ARE students, which means you don’t know much.
    Stay in school, kids. Stay in school.

  • http://undefined dskwared

    Davedave is somewhat pathetic, it’s not THE TRUTH campaign, it’s don’t play with the truth, maybe if you go on campus you’ll see it, WAIT, your not on campus, oh wait! Your not a student, WAIT you’re not the target, frankly, who cares what you have to say! As for PAUL, this is obviously not a direct response to IAW, there are more fun things coming, not from this campaign! this campaign is to show other aspects of Israel, not the one you are all so obsessed with. As for REK, they are curious, just Ignorant when it comes to getting the full picture, maybe it’s because of lazy asses who decide Israel is to blame for everything, and spread that disease, that’s the issue!

  • http://undefined davedave

    Please tell me someone as illiterate as yourself is not a university student.
    If this hack commercial is as creatively and intelligently high that your little friends can set the bar, then no doubt “The Truth Campaign” will be just as horrible.

  • http://undefined rek

    “… they are curious, just Ignorant when it comes to getting the full picture…”
    Are they ignorant of the full picture, or seeing more it than the vested interests would like?
    “… maybe it’s because of lazy asses who decide Israel is to blame for everything…”
    Or maybe it isn’t. Israel has an image issue (ranked dead last in 2006′s NBI survey), but attacking the image issue rather than its causes is quite lazy.

  • http://www.newmindspace.com Kevin Bracken

    Does this ad remind anybody of this ad?

  • http://www.torontoist.com David Topping

    Friendly reminder for folks commenting here to review our commenting policy, especially: “Do not post threatening, harassing, defamatory, or libelous material.” I know emotions run high for something like this, and that’s fine, but when two commenters start swearing at one-another, that’s when their comments go away.

  • http://undefined torontothegreat

    I wasn’t swearing. I was very cordial :/

  • http://undefined torontothegreat

    I can’t see how anything would change the world’s perception of Israel and it’s current state. Small Penis jokes might actually make it worse haha.
    I’m really glad the author pointed the event out (http://toronto.apartheidweek.org) I was unaware of this, but I’ll be sure to keep my eye on it.

    attacking the image issue rather than its causes is quite lazy.

    I completely agree with this.

  • http://undefined torontothegreat

    This was not meant as a reply to you.
    But while I’m at it. Damn you Topping… Damn you! ;)

  • http://undefined torontothegreat

    I’m pretty sure it has something to do with this;
    Coordinated by Hillel (a Jewish student organization) and other federations including CFJS, Jewish university students are coordinating a Canada-wide campaign against the sixth annual Israeli Apartheid Week, which runs the first week of March. Size Doesn’t Matter is the first phase of CFJS’s marketing blitz, and will be followed by The Truth Campaign, which runs in early March, and an as-of-yet unrevealed third phase involving social media.