ZVIKA PIK 88 224.
(photo credit: Courtesy photo)
IT'S RATHER sad to say that on the list of cosmetics, household goods, electronic services etc being marketed at this time of the year, what is being marketed most of all, is poverty. Regardless of the state of Israel's economy in general, poverty continues to be on the rise and organizations whose major task it is to feed the needy are pulling out all the stops to be able to have sufficient food to tide over the hungry for three days. Although Rosh Hashana is a two-day festival, this year it goes from Wednesday night to Friday night, which means that the organizations have to be able to supply enough food to enable people to eat on the Sabbath, as well.
And, of course, because the occasion is so special, wherever possible, the organizations want to go beyond basic food products and include something a little more festive.
Because the needs are so extensive, marketing campaigns on television, radio, the print media, the Internet, the mail box and the telephone have intensified.
Yad Ezra VeShulamit has come up with a novel idea for drawing attention to the plight of Israel's poverty stricken children by launching what is believed to be the first charity KotelKast, a live Web cast from Jerusalem's Western Wall that will connect to thousands of homes around the world. The event is scheduled for Sunday, September 9, at 7:30 p.m. Jerusalem time, just three days prior to Rosh Hashana.
Participants in the launch will include Likud Leader and former finance minister Binyamin Netanyahu, and Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski together with 500 children from Yad Ezra V'Shulamit's soup kitchens.
According to Tefilla Buxbaum, who has organized the event, supporters have created parallel events in their hometowns in cities around the globe, including Ireland, Germany, Australia, England and the US . "We are inviting everyone to log on to the Internet and join with the children of Israel, see their desperation and hear them describe how hard it is to wake up hungry each day, not even having a slice of bread or bowl of cereal to eat," said Buxbaum. "The event is designed to reach out to anyone who has a warm spot in their heart and a computer with an Internet hook-up, to be a first-hand witness to a day in the life of hundreds of poor children in Israel."
With statistics indicating that one in every four children lives below the poverty line, Yad Ezra VeShulamit, mindful of the implications of these figures, is placing individual children in the international spotlight to tell their stories.
Yad Ezra VeShulamit was founded in 1988 by Ariel Lurie, an Israeli who grew up poor and hungry and after improving his lot in life, committed himself to ensuring that others have a better childhood. An honoree this year of the Mayor of Jerusalem's Volunteer of the Year Award, Lurie and his team of dozens of volunteers from all over Israel serve thousands of meals to children, distribute 2,500 food baskets to families each week, and tries to improve their lives in many other important ways.
Additional information can be found at www.yadezra.net.
ANOTHER ORGANIZATION dedicated to feeding the hungry is Pitchon Lev (the caring heart), a national, non-profit, umbrella organization that was founded by Nissim Zioni in 1998 to help Israel's underprivileged. Short on funds to feed the hundreds of thousands of people who come within its orbit, Pitchon Lev also came up with a creative idea for marketing poverty. Using entertainers Zvika Pik and Roni Superstar, it launched what is probably the largest money box in Israel, and maybe the world. Shoppers at Dizengoff Center where the launch was held were thrilled to see two of their favorite stars, and didn't need much urging to make a contribution. Many of the contributions came from youngsters from households that can afford to put food on the table. Dizengoff Center owner Shmuel Flatto Sharon, a former MK, said the center was always ready to help out on important social issues. Flatto Sharon, who is a solid supporter of Pitchon Lev, said that he and other members of the business community had set themselves a target of raising enough money to ensure that Pitchon Lev would be able to feed at least another 100,000 people per month.
Flatto Sharon announced that he would also like to open an additional branch of Pitchon Lev in Sderot.
FOR THOSE who don't have to depend on the generosity of soup kitchens, Domino's Pizza recently launched a pilot project for ordering pizza via SMS (short text message). Until now, the service was only available at the Ramat Aviv branch, but in light of the pilot project's success, Domino's decided to expand the service initially to Ra'anana and as of the beginning of October, across the country.
As far as the company is aware, Domino's Pizza is Israel's first fast-food chain to offer its customers such a service. The platform is provided by Lingolines Inc. as part of the txt-it service. Lingolines has undertaken to provide the service exclusively to Domino's Pizza for one year.
"The pilot was extremely good, exceeding our expectations by far in every measurable aspect," said Domino's CEO Assaf Greenberg. "One of the most astonishing findings was that over 50% of the participants preferred to order their food via SMS. We regard this service and the cellular ordering channel as one of our major growth engines in the years ahead. The service enables us to efficiently meet the needs of our customers, who want to place their orders quickly, using clear and simple messages. Domino's Pizza is constantly adapting and upgrading its services to keep up with technological advances. We will continue to spearhead additional advances with the aim of improving and upgrading our services to our customers."
To use the service, consumers register in Domino's Pizza secure Web site. The process of setting up and testing the system in Israel is being monitored closely by Domino's management teams in Europe and the US, who are eagerly awaiting its results. The chain currently has 23 branches in Israel and an Internet branch at www.dominos.co.il. In this ever-changing world, the Aroma coffee chain is marketing CDs and Domino's is marketing SMS. What else will the future bring?
HOT THOUGH the weather may be, winter fashions are already in the shops, and to whet your appetite for what to wear once the temperatures drop Fox is embarking on yet another door-to-door distribution of its catalogue, delivering three million Fox Men & Women, Fox Kids and Fox Baby brochures to homes throughout the country, as well as to 180 Fox Stores all over Israel. The company will also distribute English language versions of the catalogue in its 216 outlets world-wide. Fox is spending NIS 7 million in publishing and distribution costs.
THE ISRAELI Web site AllJobs, which has one of the most comprehensive job markets in cyberspace, will launch an advertising campaign on Yahoo! the popular portal that enjoys some 400 million accesses a day. The campaign will spell out the message that this is the high season in demand for workers, which means it's a good time to secure a job. According to AllJobs CEO Revital Handler, the Yahoo! portal is not only popular, but convenient and user friendly.