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(photo credit: Courtesy)
AFTER WEEKS of advertising Beauty City in the Hebrew media, in tabloid-size brochures throughout its many stores, on billboards, etc, SuperPharm last week got its Beauty City show on the road at the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds in what can only be described as the best marketing operation for beauty that has been launched in Israel to date.
The opening night was a by invitation only affair for some thousand people, many of whom brought their children, with the result that there was a four generation age span, though the majority of those present were in the 20-something group.
Leon Koffler, chairman of the board of SuperPharm, and company CEO Lior Reitblatt were on hand to meet and greet the guests who included many of their suppliers from France, Italy, Spain, Turkey and England, which meant that although SuperPharm was marketing hair, spa, cosmetic and fashion products to the public, it was indirectly marketing Israel to its suppliers who on the opening night got to see a huge number of beautiful Israeli women. Members of the modeling industry were there in force, exquisitely dressed, beautifully coiffed and expertly groomed, and there were also a number of former models who brought along their gorgeous teenage daughters as further proof that apples don't fall far from the tree.
Whereas in SuperPharm stores, the various products are grouped on shelves in their respective categories or sometimes in a small brand name area in which the cosmetics and fragrances of a particular company are highlighted, at Beauty City, each brand was given much more booth space so that the whole concept became an exercise in marketing not only of beauty per se via SuperPharm, but also of individual brands.
The key highlight of the opening night was an incredible fashion show conceived by celebrity hair stylist Shuki Zikri who decided that exaggeration is the name of the game. Zikri displayed his talents on the heads of a number of gossamer-clad dancers who, despite their gyrations to music provided by a nine-piece string ensemble and a frenetic bongo drummer, managed to keep their hairstyles in place while they were dancing along two diagonally placed runways. Models dramatically made up and dressed in Elizabethan era gowns had their hair combed into huge beehives, one of which extended into a high pyramid and another that comprised three giant immaculate buns - one on top of the head and one on either side - made their way in a slow, gliding movement along the runways together with other models in almost equally eye catching gear. Unlike true Elizabethan gowns, which hit the ground, these were fraught with a little modernism and were open from mid-calf revealing platform-soled boots tied to even higher platforms, which made it impossible for models to move at anything other than a slow pace.
The show, with its emphasis on femininity, was a huge hit and fit in perfectly with the Beauty City concept, which in addition to three days of fashion shows also included lectures on a large variety of inner and outer beauty subjects such as trends, career, sex, etc by various celebrities - mostly women - who included inter alia well-known restaurateur Mika Sharon; best-selling author Yochi Brandeis; judo champion, Olympic medalist and successful businesswoman Yael Arad; military correspondent Carmella Menashe; cosmetics queen and age defier Pnina Rosenblum; actress Gila Almagor; fashion stylist Sandra Ringler; and many others.
Among the many booths were clothing and accessory designers and importers. Fashion designer Rina Bahir, aware that nearly everyone likes to get something for nothing, came up with a great marketing idea to attract people to her booth: taped in satin to beautiful post cards of her clothing designs were silver drop earrings, ideal for those women who eschew piercing or clips. These featured a hook that draped around the ear and brought a lot of people to the booth.
If SuperPharm, in this initial Beauty City venture was marketing what it plans to turn into an annual event, it did extremely well.
SUCCESSFUL MARKETING does not necessarily mean pushing a specific product or brand name; it often means selling an idea. One of the major assets to successful business is networking, but not everyone has the capacity to simply walk up to another person and introduce themselves, even though networking is such an essential tool in bringing business people to the point of negotiation and sales. Paul Israel, the quiet, yet dynamic director of the Israel Australia Chamber of Commerce has found a way around this, and in so doing not only markets the services of the Chamber but also indirectly facilitates easier networking. At all of the Chamber's major events, including the dinner hosted last week for Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer, Israel provides each guest with a complete list of participants, including the name of the organization, institution or company that each person on the list represents. At the dinner, he went a step further and had the lists printed both alphabetically and in accordance to table groupings so anyone reading the lists and wanting to meet a particular person did not have to conduct a search through the hotel dining room as it was much easier to simply peruse the lists to know which table to approach.
ANY REAL estate maven knows that that one of the secrets of successful business is location, location, location. Thus when Roladin CEO Kobi Hakak launched the company's elegant flagship store in Tel Aviv last week, he didn't select one of Roladin's existing shops, but chose instead one of its newer locations in the busy part of Allenby Street at the prestige address of what used to be the Mikulinski Shoe Store, which for decades attracted discriminating buyers in an area generally known for bargain prices - Mikulinski was one of the exceptions to the rule, and its prices were very high for Allenby Street. Roladin's prices are slightly higher than those of other pastry and coffee shops in the area, but Hakak believes that customers will come because of the ambience, the quality, the hygiene and Roladin's dedication to innovation and upgrading of breads and cakes. Roladin invested NIS 1.5 million in this new venture and has also made a deal with a well known Austrian baked goods company to produce a kosher version of its breads. Hakak believes that good marketing depends on combining tradition with progress.
THE ISRAEL Postal Company is spending $1.5 million on a campaign designed to focus awareness on its various services in an era of increasing competition. The bottom line is that even if you are marooned on a desert island, the Israel Postal Company will reach you. The campaign is based on a series of comedy skits starring Eli Finish and Mariano Eidelman as the stranded husband and wife who are using the IPC in the hope of being rescued. Other than the traditional postal services logo, the campaign aims to foster a whole new image of Israel's postal services. In addition, the IPC is distributing two million copies of its catalogue of services and products under the title "One Stop Shop."
YET ANOTHER comedian from the popular, satirical television show Eretz Nehederet (Wonderful Country), Assi Cohen, is heading the International Bank campaign to promote the concept of creative banking. If your Hebrew is fluent, pay careful attention to this one, because it includes the new banking lexicon. Cohen also stars in the prize winning series Mesudarim about a successful group of young Israeli entrepreneurs, and it is in this image that he fits the criteria for the bank's current campaign.
BAGIR HAS invested $500,000 in the opening of a concept shop in Tokyo. Although Bagir has been exporting for years to many parts of the world, this is the first time it has actually opened a Bagir store abroad. The shop was launched in partnership with Japanese firms with the idea of promoting awareness of the Bagir label and Bagir products, which also will be distributed to Japanese department stores. Bagir Tokyo is being managed by Yukari Kagami, who previously headed Lanvin operations in Japan. Kagami is optimistic that Bagir will do well in its new venture because the Japanese are always looking for something new. Bagir, known abroad for its quality, will also help to promote Israel's image in Japan.