NOTWITHSTANDING MEDIA reports about the gloom and doom of the global economy, there are some enterprises operating as if nothing was amiss. Case in point is Brazil-headquartered H. Stern, whose luxury jewelry stores can be found in all of Israel's high-class hotels. H. Stern is investing NIS 5 million in a campaign that includes a gala launch at Carmel Forest Spa hotel of its winter 2008/09 collection, a catalogue, wall images and outdoor posters of the most striking items in the collection worn by Brazilian super-model Carol Trentini, along with magazine and newspaper advertisements. The collection, which goes under the name of NATUR, was inspired both by the world's beautiful gardens and rising gold prices. According to Israel Kurt, managing director of H. Stern, Israel, when gold prices go up, people are more inclined to wear gold - preferably large, and often ostentatious, jewelry items. However, such items have to be really special. The economic crisis presented H. Stern's designers with the challenge of coming up with more unique and superior designs with sufficient appeal to persuade people to buy, even when money is tight. AN ANTI-SMOKING campaign that it dreamed up for the Israel Cancer Association has placed Gitam BBDO among the finalists in the New York-based Global Awards for Creativity. Advertising agencies from 30 countries submitted 300 presentations for this year's contest. In other Gitam BBDO news, Gitam BBDO SOHO is mounting a NIS 150,000 campaign for ALL JOBS, a new Web site that collates information about all employment vacancies in Israel and makes this information accessible to Internet surfers. ALL JOBS gathers material from 1,800 other sites and catalogues the information. WINNING ONLY one prize in any kind of competition is sufficiently rewarding, but for Idea, a company that specializes in branding and designing for the retail industry, the reward was tripled when the Manufacturers Association of Israel awarded it three Star of Israel prizes for projects on behalf of Bezeq, Multilock and Shoresh. Idea proprietor and CEO Amir Hanegbi says that as a company dedicated to branding and design, Idea must be constantly innovative, using advanced technology and progressive new concepts to create what will appeal to target groups. INTERNATIONALLY known car rental, leasing and sales company Avis has launched its Negev flagship operations in Beersheba at an investment of NIS 500,000. The new Avis center occupies an area of three dunams and is one of the most modern facilities of its kind in the South, providing just about every service that is car-related. According to Avis CEO Yoav Horowitz, the company's Negev center was constructed in accordance with the highest international standards. ALTHOUGH MODERN technology is supposed to make us more efficient and save us time, it doesn't always succeed. Many people who work in media, be it journalism, public relations or advertising are using computers to a far greater extent than they ever used typewriters, because the computer enables them to send electronic mail around the clock. In fact, they're so busy at their computers working way past midnight, that they seldom have time to go out and shop for clothes or furniture. The same applies to academics, who also spend much more time than they should on the computer keyboard. Taking advantage of such inclinations, while keen to increase its sales, ID Design has introduced a virtual furniture store accessible to any one at any time via www.myhomepage.co.il The Web site is a categorized catalogue that enables surfers to see various designs of specific items of furniture such as sofas, kitchen chairs, lounge chairs and beds. The furniture shown is less expensive than most of the stock in regular ID Design stores, because it is intended for young people living in rental premises. All the furniture shown is accompanied by price tags, so someone who has just rented an apartment has a good idea of what it will cost to furnish it without having to go traipsing from store to store to find items they like that also fit their budget. The items that they choose are available from the ID Design store in the Ramat Aviv Mall. The company anticipates sales of NIS 1.5m. over the next two months. Therein lies the snag. The whole exercise has been planned for only two months' duration - possibly to make way for new merchandise. However, if there is sufficient interest on the part of the public, chances are that ID Design may turn its virtual store into a permanent part of its operations.