Market Wise

There was something contagious about Bloomsday, which not only became an Irish national holiday, but also caught on in other parts of the world, especially in countries in which there are Irish pubs.

FOR FANS of James Joyce, June 16 is an important day on the calendar - it is the date of the annual Bloomsday celebration in which Dubliners, inasmuch as is possible, retrace the steps of the fictional character Leopold Bloom, who in Joyce's magnum opus Ulysees on June 16 wandered through the streets of Dublin, stopping off at inns, cafes and pubs for a pint or two of the city's favorite brews. There was something contagious about Bloomsday, which not only became an Irish national holiday, but also caught on in other parts of the world, especially in countries in which there are Irish pubs. There is no shortage of Irish pubs in Israel. In fact, one of them is called Molly Bloom's in honor of Bloom's wife. On June 16, most if not all of Israel's Irish pubs will be full of merry makers, James Joyce aficionados and lovers of Irish music. In between downing good Irish beer, stout and whiskey, Bloomsday observers will listen to readings from Ulysees and will tap their feet to Irish tunes. Israel Beer Breweries, which markets Guinness, and IBBL Spirit, which markets Bushmills, are spending NIS 250,000 on a marketing campaign that will publicize Bloomsday activities in Irish pubs across the country on the weekend of June 15-16. Bloomsday is not only a means of marketing Irish alcoholic beverages, but of marketing Ireland as a travel destination and of promoting Irish culture. Irish Ambassador Michael Forbes will, on Friday June 15, host a screening at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque - which already holds an annual Irish film festival - of "Bloom," a film directed by Sean Walsh, and released in 2004 to mark the centenary of Bloomsday. If Jewish one-day holidays such as Purim, extend to almost a week's worth of festivities in Israel, there's no reason an Irish holiday based on a Jewish character should not do likewise. Forbes will also be present on Sunday, June 17 when the Israel Ireland Friendship League hosts Prof. Cormac O'Grada of University College, Dublin who will speak on "Jewish Ireland in the Age of Joyce" at the Open University, Ra'anana. And today, Thursday, Forbes will be in Beersheba where he will host a pre-Bloomsday reception at a pub adjacent to Ben-Gurion University in celebration of an Irish Studies symposium - "Ireland Beyond Stereotypes" that has been organized by BGU's Department of General History. SOCIO-RELIGIOUS issues require good marketing no less than economic services or consumer products. More and more women's organizations are being formed and are joining forces with existing organizations to raise public awareness of the plight of agunot - women who are anchored or chained in marriages from which they wish to be released, but are unable to be liberated because their husbands refuse to give them a get , or Jewish bill of divorce. Without it, these women cannot remarry or have children. To support the efforts of Asurot (Forbidden), a coalition of women's organizations working towards freeing women from marital bondage, the Magnolia Jewelry chain has produced a special silver bracelet with a Swarovski crystal as a form of identification with the struggle of the agunot. All proceeds from sales of this bracelet will go to Asurot. It is hoped that the bracelet which, though such a feminine piece of jewelry also symbolizes pain and slavery, will also become a symbol of hope. It sells at the affordable price of NIS 49. Asurot was initiated by the not-for-profit community art project headed by Adi Yekutieli. Asurot is currently engaged in completing what it believes to be the biggest wedding gown in the world, and hopes that the finished product will be included in the Guinness Book of Records, which in itself will make more people aware of the suffering of agunot. Meanwhile, the gown that incorporates embroidered images created in agunot workshops, will be displayed in Rabin Square in Tel Aviv from June 28 within the framework of the city's White Night festivities celebrating the fourth anniversary of UNESCO's conferring of World Heritage Site status on Tel Aviv's White City. This is also a marketing ploy in advance of Tel Aviv's centenary celebrations. WHEN AHAVA wanted to boost its sales in Europe, the US and Asia, it used a very savvy strategy. It organized a three-day distributors' conference in Berlin in which there were 30 participants from 20 countries - that made it large enough for global representation and small enough for people to get to know each other and network about the marketing techniques in the places where they operate. The conference, which opened with the launch of a new Ahava store in Berlin, subsequently evolved into an international think tank. According to Ahava's global marketing manager Shmulik Cohen, it was an extremely fruitful experience that not only produced new thinking but also resulted in new distribution agreements. Meanwhile, on the local front, Ahava is spending $150,000 on billboard advertising for essential Dead Sea treatment moisturizing products with SPF 15 for men and women. PSAGOT OFEK has mounted a NIS 1 million television marketing campaign through the Adler Chomsky & Warshavsky advertising agency. The bottom line is that now is the time to invest - but not without the advice of expert investment consultants. The campaign was prompted by the fact that banks are now giving financial advice to their customers, a measure that was previously considered a conflict of interests. Under the circumstances, Psagot Ofek feels that it is entitled to make a direct approach to the public via television commercials. The commercial shows an investment consultant sitting with a group of people who are applauding him. A background announcer says: "Right now your advice is worth more…" Basically it means that members of the public can ask for a second opinion if they don't feel comfortable with the advice that they get at the bank. PIZZA HUT, which is part of the Dor Alon Group, has just opened a new branch on Tel Aviv's Arlozorov Street at an investment of NIS 1.5m. The youthful, urban and trendy interior design is the work of Ruth Shamai and Yael Yanai. The area of the premises is 200 sq.m., and pizza lovers can rest assured, that unlike many other enterprises that are here today and gone tomorrow, Pizza Hut is there to stay - at least for the next decade. The company has taken out a 10-year lease on the premises and is paying a monthly rental of $7,000. Lari Levine, Pizza Hut's VP Marketing says that strategy today calls not only for the upgrading of menus and company products but also for the face-lifting of premises so that Pizza Hut, while reflecting tradition on the palate continues to remain as modern as tomorrow in other respects.