Posts Tagged ‘advertising’

Lee and Morty Kaufman Clean Up

August 15, 2013

This piece was first published as “Ads make stars of Jewish retirees”  in The Times of Israel.


An irresistible pair of Jewish nonagenarians is cleaning up when it comes to YouTube hits. Long Island residents Morty and Lee Kaufman are the surprise stars of a series of video ads for Procter & Gamble’s Swiffer cleaning products, which have been racking up millions of views this summer.

It’s hard not to fall in love with diminutive, energetic Lee, 90, who insists on mopping the kitchen floor and climbing onto a rickety step stool to dust the top of the couple’s china cabinet. Morty is equally endearing, sheepishly admitting he doesn’t do any housecleaning, while at the same time being the one who probably creates the most dirt around the house. He does, however, warn Lee to be careful.

“Morty, are you listening?” Lee asks at one point in her recognizable New York patois, praising a new Swiffer duster as her husband dozes in the living room armchair.

Click here to read more and watch one of Lee and Morty’s ads.

© 2013 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.

Logos of Loyalty and Fear

June 23, 2013

This article was first published as “New book delves into logos that evoke loyalty—and fear” in The Times of Israel.

Hamas flag (photo credit: Courtesy of Merrell Publishers)

Hamas flag (photo credit: Courtesy of Merrell Publishers)

‘It’s all about design these days,” said Artur Beifuss, co-author of a book about branding.

Beifuss sounds like he might have experience in corporate marketing or advertising, maybe for a multinational company like Coca Cola, Nestlé or Google. But he doesn’t. Instead, he has worked for the United Nations as a counter-terrorism analyst, specializing in the Islamic variety.

By watching thousands of horrific videos (“It’s not a nice job”), he came to realize that in our era, brand identity is important not only to commercial entities, but also to organizations that operate in the markets of insurrection, kidnapping, suicide bombing and beheading.

Terrorism may be a bloody business, but it is still a business.

Beifuss has co-authored a new book, “Branding Terror: The Logotypes and Iconography of Insurgent Groups and Terrorist Organizations,” together with his colleague Franceso Trivini Bellini, a professional graphic designer and creative director.

The Odessa-born, German Beifuss, 30, met the Italian Bellini, also 30, when they were both living for a period in Amsterdam, and they decided to pool their talents to create a reference guide to the visual identities of the world’s terror organizations.

“Branding, marketing and the visual communication of ideas and messages are tools that are used not only by corporations and political parties. Every organization that tries to put a message across, to influence an audience and to stand out in a highly competitive sector, or even to mark a claimed territory… needs a well-defined visual identity,” Beifuss writes in the introduction to the book.

Whether they are sophisticated in their branding attempts or not, all terrorist groups are aware that their logos and flags are key instruments in both planting fear and encouraging allegiance.

Click here to read more.

© 2013 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.

Publicis Groupe Acquires Palestinian And Israeli Advertising Firms

June 21, 2012

This piece was first published in The Times of Israel.

Maurice Levy at the World Economic Forum in 2008 (photo credit: World Economic Forum / CC-BY-SA, via Wikimedia Commons)

With its purchase on June 18 of 20% of Ramallah-basedZoom AdvertisingPublicis Groupe claims to be the first listed international holding group to enter the Palestinian market. Publicis’ French-Jewish chief executive Maurice Lévy sees the acquisition—especially with Publicis’ concurrent buying of a major Israeli communications group— as an investment toward peace in the Middle East.

The Palestinian advertising company, which has 23 clients and also has an office in Gaza, will now be called Publicis Zoom. Among its clients are the Bank of Palestine, Coca-Cola, Peugeot, the Palestinian Securities Exchange, and the new Palestinian-planned city of Rawabi.

The agreement, signed by Lévy at a ceremony in the West Bank, includes an option for the holding company to acquire a larger stake in Zoom in future.

Publicis announced the same day from its Paris headquarters that it had acquired BBR Group, the Israeli advertising and communications network. The transaction followed fifteen years of collaboration between Publicis and many of BBR’s affiliate agencies. BBR’s founder and chairman Yoram Baumann has been appointed the Publicis Groupe chairman for Israel.

Click here to read more.

© 2012 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.