THE UPHEAVAL in Kadima has brought with it the first whiff of election fever, and public relations and communications firms that include political strategies in their list of services have been busy marketing themselves via radio and television programs. One example is Barmi, Alon, Katz, a new alliance of political consultants aimed primarily at municipal elections candidates, though they they are also available for primaries and for elections to the Knesset.
Arik Barmi is a former director general of the Likud with considerable experience in managing election campaigns. His specific area of expertise is in logistics, especially on election day. Yossi Alon is the proprietor and CEO of Evergreen Public Relations, which specializes in political strategies, communications and branding. He has worked as a consultant for numerous politicians and continues to work as a communications advisor to Moshe Kahlon, the chairman of the Likud Central Committee.
Itzik Katz, who owns the Katz-Kaplan advertising agency, has twenty years of experience in campaign advertising and management.
The three say that they pooled their resources to enable politicians to do one-stop shopping for all their campaign needs and services.
SPANISH CLOTHING company Zara, popular in Israel as well as elsewhere in the world, re-opened its branch in the Ramat Aviv Mall last week, even as negotiations were taking place between Africa Israel and the Azrieli Group of companies for transfer of ownership of the mall. Negotiations fell through this week, which means that Africa Israel, which has put all of its Israeli malls on the market continues to retain ownership.
The failure to reach an accommodation with Azrieli caused a decisive drop on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange in the value of Africa Israel shares. Interestingly enough, the Zara Israel franchise previously belonged to Africa Israel, though ownership was recently transferred to Hanan Elituv and Joey Schwebel, who invested NIS 20 million in renovating and refurbishing the store. Among those attending the gala re-opening were Zvia Leviev Alazorov, Africa Israel's vice president for international marketing and manager of the company's malls division, and Eli Kedar, general manager of Zara Israel.
EVEN PEOPLE who are not sports-minded cannot escape the excitement surrounding the 2008 Olympics which open in Beijing on Friday. Go Active fitness clubs, with 20 branches throughout Israel, are among the sponsors of local television coverage of the Beijing Olympics including the opening and closing ceremonies on channels 5 and 5+. Go Active CEO Guy Blankstein, says that the company sees itself as identifying with the Olympic spirit and values. That's quite a spirit at a price of NIS 250,000.
TU B'AV, the 15th day of the Hebrew calendar month of Av, is known as the Jewish Valentines day. The values of the Temple times, when rich and poor would wear simple white dresses so that all could participate equally in the festivities, seem to have been lost on commercial interests scrambling to cash in on yet another advertiser's holiday.
Just a few examples of what's happening vis-Ã -vis Tu B'Av:
TNT is featuring Love shirts decorated with a rainbow springing out of a heart. It is also selling necklaces strung with hearts.
Shenkin Candles will throw in a NIS 60 bottle of aromatic body oil as a gift for every purchase over NIS 129.
Avgad Jewelry is featuring heart-shaped necklaces, pendants, bracelets, rings and earrings.
Top Shop is selling clothes and accessories with heart motifs.
Max Brenner Chocolates has taken both the affluent and lovers-on-a-budget into account and is selling love fest specials at prices ranging from NIS 29 to NIS 259.
Roladin is selling heart-shaped cakes in a variety of sizes and choices, ranging from a small box with two small hearts - one for him and one for her, to a big heart-shaped cake for two.
Mamz has produced romantic tank tops with an over-all print of hearts.
Hamashbir is selling glassware and handbags with heartfelt impressions.
Padani offers something a little different in the way of jewelry with a round gold pendant with a heart shaped "cut-out" in the middle surrounded by the words "I love you" in a number of languages.
One of the best Tu B'Av deals has been offered by Barkan Wines, which is conducting a lovers' cookery workshop under the tutelage of Adi Schwartz, accompanied by a large selection of wines. Participants will obviously partake of the variety of courses on the dairy menu of the workshop. Participation fee is NIS 280. Reservations can be made by phoning 09-9513366.