Friday, May 4, 2007

Israel Plans to Revamp Its Image Using Babes and Bikinis...Now That's Using your Head!

All countries carry a certain stereotype: Some associate pasta and emotion with Italy, the queen and bad weather with Britain, flashing lights and high-speed trains with Japan, celebrities and money with California, and conflict and religion with Israel. In a very intereesting public relations move, Israeli officials at the consulate in New York have decided to try to rebrand the negative image associated with their country and have approached Maxim, dubbed America's most-popular men's magazine, to launch a public relations campaign to help them. Now there's some brains, hunh?

The aim of the project is to change Israel's image from a country associated with constant conflict to a different, sexy, fun and vibrant place. Maxim is going to run a special Israel edition this July that will promote the country to its 2.5 million readership, and the magazine hopes it will revamp Israel's image in the eyes of young American men. Officials said Maxim is an excellent platform for delivering this message and will target the audience it is hoping to convert -- young what? Celibacy?

Lindsay Citerman, an Israeli who studies Judaism in Jerusalem, said, "Tel Aviv is a sexy city, (and so is Skid Row but I ain't vacationing there!) but I am not sure if this is the best way to sell Israel to Americans." But she conceded, ''In our world, maybe that is the way that you have to do it." She believes that it is the political reality that should be changed first -- not the image. "Israel is in a constant state of war," she said. "It is hard to change this image if you don't change the state of war."

Avital Sterngold, Citerman's friend, said that she lives in the United Kingdom, and that the image of Israel there is very negative, "'because people there oppose Israel's policies." She doubts Maxim's PR campaign will change people's political views, but it might increase their interest in coming to Israel on holiday. Israeli officials seem to be determined to create new ways of promoting their country's image abroad. I really can't see how a sexy photo of a woman wrapped in a towel will do any good but if they are really going to change their image...

Everyone knows girls in bikinis sell.