Sunday, May 06, 2007

Babes in the Holy Land

Today's cute Ellie story can wait until tomorrow; tonight I want to honor the Sabbath by posting a wee little rant (note how I'm prepping for our upcoming trip to Scotland) about an article I read recently in Newsweek, Babes in the Holy Land: Israel flirts with a new public-relations strategy. The gist is that Israel is trying to attract more tourists, specifically American men under age 35, and are trying to lure them over with an ad campaign featuring mostly naked women.

I have three main complaints.

1) Feminist: Well, duh. This one's too obvious to dissect. I will say this, however. How dumb is it to decide that American males ages 18-35 should be the target demographic? How many men in that age range are planning transatlantic vacations? Hint to the PR folks: college boys are sticking closer to home (cheaper!) and older men are usually traveling with their wives/families. Guess who's doing most of the vacation pitching and planning. Go ahead, guess. I'm tired of marketing campaigns aimed at such a narrow segment of the population, especially when it doesn't seem to make any real sense in today's market.

2) Writing: Wow, is this clumsy. Perhaps I should have skipped applying to grad school and applied for a job at Newsweek, instead. Look at that subtitle! The article goes on to use a photographer's tattoos as a metaphor for the ad campaign itself. The closing line is, "The reality of Israel is often having to choose: go with the girl, or go with God." I can just hear this guy chortling to himself over his cleverness. Groan.

3) Professional: The idea is to branch out from trying to attract mainly Christian evangelicals, because that support might dry up, and they don't want to turn off the secular liberals. A couple of problems here. A) There are lots of Christians who are liberals. B) There are lots of non-religious folk who are actually interested in Israel's history (more than its babes). C) There are plenty of liberals, secular and religious, who will be turned off by this exploitative and nonsensical PR strategy. What is with assuming that not-evangelical-christian = secular-liberal = wants to see naked women?

I think the marketing dude just wanted to see the mostly naked chicks.


Stushie said...

Where are you going in Scotland? I may be able to make some suggestions for your itinerary. I was born there and have taken 3 tour groups in recent years.

Sarahlynn said...

Thanks, Stushie! We're spending most of our time in the Highlands and Islands. We're working with a local tour company, and my dad has spent months working with them to design an itinerary that includes everything that everyone in our party (my entire family) wants to see. On this visit we're not getting to St. Andrews, the Borders, or several other sites I'd like to see. Just incentive for another trip, I suppose!