Best Bar Slogan on Earth

March 25, 2010

Next time you have to market a bar, keep in mind the greatest ad slogan ever, for Herlinger, in Tel Aviv:

Check out Herlinger on Facebook.

Israel is a small penis

February 22, 2010

Check out this pro-Israeli tourism ad. You will not be disappointed! And then read this blog post for everything I’d say on the matter.

Vote this November!

November 8, 2008

This November be sure to cast your vote! No, I’m not writing this post a week too late… November 11th is Tel Aviv municipal election day! Below is one of the “viral” election ads for Dov Khenin (bio on Wikipedia) of the City for All party that’s filled with Israeli celebs. Yeah, by the way, he’s a communist (not that there’s anything wrong with that)! His videos, interviews and positions (especially on the environment and high costs of rent in Tel Aviv) seem to make a lot of sense and are presented professionally and without many typos.

Banji Jamping Sommeliers

October 29, 2008

Premier Cru is a new company offering sommelier services for private events in Israel. Their site is enticing, getting the user to read almost every page and build interest in their offering. We can set aside the fact that Israelis don’t drink very much and, when they do, are not known for their interest in high quality wines. The most interesting part of the site, however, is “The Team,” where they provide detailed bios on all their wine connoisseurs.

In this case, knowing the people behind the company makes you lose any interest in actually working with them. The impression you get is that most employees are students at Tel Aviv University (many seem to be majoring in biotechnology) and are also children of the former soviet union. This is not necessarily the profile that springs to mind when thinking about wine experts you’d invite to your next high-profile private event.

And if you have any doubt, make sure to read Tal’s profile, where you’ll learn that she enjoys “light athletics” (don’t ask me what that means) and “banji.” I wonder if she packs a beg of mashrooms while on her way to do banji.

Does anyone get the impression from the website these people can do what they claim? No references, no real pictures, no stories… just glamorous-sounding mumbo jumbo. And, by the way, all the pictures on the site were taken in a furniture store. After seeing the exhaustive bios, professional make-up job and fancy photo shoot it seems the site is more about feeding their own ego than anything else.

Israeli CEOs are Stupid

June 28, 2008

This post isn’t meant to poke fun at a random Israeli speaking with a few mistakes. Rather, I am picking on one Israeli to make a larger point. For most Israeli companies to succeed they have to have their eyes and strategy set on international markets from the beginning. The Israeli marketplace simply isn’t large enough to sustain many large companies. So start-ups immediately set their sights on Europe, the Far-East or America as destinations to export their technologies and as targets for their marketing.

That’s all fair and good. The problem begins with a basic Israeli weakness – the overwhelming impossibility of a typical Israeli to admit his or her flaws. You’ll seldom hear waiters or public sector workers admit they don’t know something or that they did something wrong. This universal Israeli weakness is even more acute among those that become entrepreneurs and managers. Of course, if they are ambitious, have ideas and pursue them, they will almost never admit personal shortcomings.

A very blatant example of this phenomenon is seen in almost all Israeli attempts to market their products to American audiences. The false-confidence stems not only from general over-confidence but also from most Israeli businesspeoples’ belief that they know English well. “Ehhhh, of course, I spent one year in America with Shoshana and the kids, of course I am speaking the English goodly.”

In my line of work I get to meet a lot of Israeli start-ups and entrepreneurs. Those I like will surely hear from me this tirade and my bottom line of “get a native English speaker on your team to present your company to Americans! Do not assume you’ll do a good job just because you’re the CEO and grew up watching Seinfeld.”

What prompted me to write this post is a video by Israeli CEO Uri Shinar giving an elevator pitch for his company, Aniboom, which Techcrunch posted recently. Click here to see the video (sorry that WordPress won’t let me embed it here but I promise you its worth the link to watch this horrible video).

In my opinion the video is the perfect example of the over-confident Israeli CEO telling himself “of course I should be the one doing the pitch, I am the CEO.” What he probably didn’t consider for a second is that his English will not only be a detriment to the video but may even turn people off entirely because they won’t really “get” what he’s trying to say. And before you tell me that maybe he had no one else available to do the video let me say that I know for certain several native English speakers work at the company. One of them could have made the company’s pitch in even less than 30 seconds and wouldn’t have made people cringe from some of the mistakes Uri made: “eh, we get great feedbacks from the peoples.”

Good luck Uri! I hope others learn something from this, seriously.

The only thing Mahmoud Ahmadinejad likes about Israel

June 12, 2008

This is a new commercial airing now on Israeli satellite provider YES. In it, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announces that by Monday he’ll destroy Israel but he’s then stopped by fellow Iranians declaring how much they love Israeli TV. Things then turn into a big ‘ole song and dance orama.

Thanks to Greg Levey, author of the new book Shut Up, I’m Talking: And Other Diplomacy Lessons I Learned in the Israeli Government — A Memoir, for the post.

Addicted to spell check

December 30, 2007

What’s wrong with this picture? Were they drunk when they designed the sign? Probably not…they were probably just too lazy to use spell check before spending all that money on getting a big ass sign made.

Smith Bar

I know last time I checked…alcohol was spelled with ONE “h” and it isn’t located after the “c.” How did NO ONE catch that? Way to go, Smith Bar!

What’s in a name?

December 26, 2007

I don’t know about you…but I know that if I had a really fancy store that sold home decor in a really trendy area in Tel Aviv, I would DEFINITELY call it “Items.” Because you know…we sell items.


Spoling Israeli Sex Masage, special for you

December 13, 2007

I don’t think too many words are needed to introduce you, our upstanding reader, to the Israeli sex/massage card industry.

You can either go for a “spoling massage” with sexy anime characters or listen as a sexy Israeli girl asks you to “come tave my tower out.”


Tower Out

It’s Making the Fashions

December 3, 2007

Here is a typical Israeli line of thinking:

  1. Trick people.
  2. If caught, try again to trick people.
  3. If sued, admit you were tricking people.
  4. Continue tricking people.

This lesson comes to us in the form of Israeli fashion house Versace. Yes, I said “Israel fashion house” because the many Versace stores you see around Israel have absolutely no connection to the famous Italian fashion house that also happens to be called Versace.

I know what you’re thinking – “but its the same name?!” Yes, that’s true. You might even say – “but wait a second, isn’t that going to confuse people?” Yes, that’s the plan.

See number one above for the answer to this mystery.

The kicker to this little story is the sign posted at all “Israeli Versace” stores, as well as in the footer of their website:

Versace closeup

The sign says: “This store is not connected in any way with the Italian Fashion house Gianni Versace S.P.A and the products on display for sale within are not produced by the Italian fashion house mentioned above.”


Here’s a picture of a typical “Israeli Versace” store:

Versace Israel

Fish guts! 10 shekel a kilo!

November 27, 2007

The following story comes from a dear friend of mine who recently made Aliyah. I’ve been explaining to him that life in Israel is full of really funny stuff and he’s been taking it all in. Yesterday, I got the following story in my inbox and I had to share.

For other funny stories, visit his blog

Here’s his story…

Living in Jerusalem is a great challenge, especially if you go around assuming that things make some modicum of sense, like an insane asylum, where the lines of insanity are clearly demarcated by locked doors (insane) and guys in white coats (sane). Here, it’s also like an insane asylum, except there are no clear borders, everything’s mushed together like a Jerusalem mixed grill, and the only guys in white coats are the ones who stand behind smelly counters all day at the shuk and their coats are smattered with fish guts and they’re yelling at you, “Fish guts! 10 shekel a kilo!” in 5 second intervals, each one louder than the next, until you come up to him and ask him what kind of fish guts he’s selling and he yells at you for disturbing him because he was in a groove.

So as to the belief that there is some sense in this city – only crazed lunatics believe such nonsense. Nobody here does. Everyone here is completely honest with himself, he lives in reality, he has no fantasies, he’s a realist, which is why he never assumes that when the Israel Museum attempts to charge you 37 shekels for entry during what was advertised as a free weekend, maybe, at least, someone would be at the counter to sell you the ticket, and that the museum wouldn’t be closed for renovations after you got one. Read the rest of this entry »

Because You Suck, That’s Why

November 20, 2007


I read an interesting article in Haaretz today on the recent 5-day mission to Israel of a few Hollywood bigwigs. Apparently the experience culminated with a Q&A at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque with the Hollywood visitors fielding questions by Israeli film industry hopefuls. The author of the article refers to the questions unabashedly centering around “how can I get a job in Hollywood?” and never straying from that theme for too long. I mean, I see why, but some common sense? You’re talking to the most vile elitists of American society and expecting them to actually give you a satisfying answer to that question by cornering them over and over?

I can probably recreate the scene:

BigWig: So, you can see, we’re always looking abroad to film our projects and draw talen..

Dudi: Ehhhhh, how I get job in Hollywood?

BigWig: ..nt from all over the- huh? Oh, um, hi. Yeah, like I said we’re always open to new talent and …(general noncommital platitudes)…

Shmulik: So you say, I must to come make film and you pay me in Hollywood USA?

BigWig: Well, let me repeat that we’re interested in anything that makes us lots of money; with regards to specifics I can’t… (generally phony but nonoffensive American expressions of disinterest)…

Dedi: I give you script!

BigWig: No, we can’t accept unsolicited scripts for legal rea-

Dedi: No? Why? I give you — It’s make tale of hummus legacy set in…

Ugh. You see where this is going. What is it with all the “why?” anyway when you simply reject something straight up? I get it *without fail* at the car wash I occasionally go to. They’re trying to pimp on me some 600 shekel membership when a) I don’t always go there and b) I don’t need to prepay my car washes. But “no, not interested” is never enough. It’s all, “why not? nu??” Do they really think that by cornering a consumer and making him rue the day he ever told them he wasn’t interested, that I’m going to be the least bit inclined to buy anything there? BECAUSE YOUR PROPOSITION SUCKS, THAT’S WHY NOT. Why should I down-pay hundreds of shekels to save like, ten over the next 6 months? The math doesn’t even work out. I’m half tempted to bust out a PowerPoint next time.

Eat your vegetals!

September 17, 2007

Zabajnikit Davida sent us a few gifts in honor of the New Year (click any image to see it full-size):

Stop Tush

Two bottles of “Stop Tush” in scented gel form that’s good for children and adults.

Shit sign

A street sign near Haifa that warns dog owners to a 660NIS fine if they don’t clean up after their dogs. To get people’s attention the sign exclaims “Shit! I stepped in it again!”


And perhaps the best pic in the batch is of a bag of frozen vegetarian shnitzel. Except they spelled it “Vegetal.” I’m sure we can all imagine Udi Manyak screaming at his kids, “Almog, Dudi, Ron, come cheere and eat your vegetalsim!”

Sparkel Sparkle!

August 20, 2007

Schweppes in IsraelLet’s talk about Schweppes. I was kind of excited to see this new product in the store the other day. Israel is really lacking in raspberry things…maybe because raspberries don’t really grow here in large quantities or something…but I’ve noticed that this culture isn’t really into raspberry stuff. No assortment of raspberry and chocolate candies or cakes…fresh raspberries in the grocery stores aren’t really existent. That’s ok though — considering the amount of other fabulous fruits that we find here. But sometimes I really want a raspberry something.

Anyway, so I saw this new item in the store the other day and it made me really happy. A raspberry fizzy drink. Nice! I flipped the bottle over and saw this…


What in the world are “sparkeling berries?”

Does their marketing department have spell check!? Maybe they thought it was cool to spell it incorrectly? Or maybe it’s the same marketing department that handles the Crocker campaign

Reason I Sometimes Think About Moving #29082

August 12, 2007

This is a follow up on Shirat HaSirena’s post on the Crocker jeans campaign that somehow, defying all logic and taste, still seems to be running strong on 9,000,000,000,00m x 10,000,000,000m billboards across Tel Aviv.


1) Who you callin’ a cracker, 2) I’ll sit if I damn well please, and 3) PLEASE can’t they have people who speak English read these things before they make giant nonsensical billboards out of them?!

And wow way to be extra edgy and hip by making the ‘O’ in your brand name…wait for it…a *RADIOACTIVE* symbol. Oooh wear these jeans and you’ll be so cool and ATOMIC. I can almost picture the smoked out, Fraggle Rock red-dyed Henna hair marketing twit that came up with this ridiculous slogan. “Ze cacha omrim — hev a nize day — omrim hav a nice azzz” (undeserved applause by all in the boardroom).

P.S. the word ‘ass’ should never be larger than 72pt. Ever.

Pizza For You a Bargain!

July 12, 2007

When you think about language as much as I do, there’s lots to ponder and chuckle at. For me, this is especially true in Israel, where I know the language, but always break the words down as I read, into roots and structures, discerning the meaning behind the meaning. And I love Israeli slang, idiom and phraseology. I just love it to the point of shiga’on.

And then I came across this, what I consider to be the best name for a pizza joint anywhere.

israel-partying-july-2007-00009-small.jpg Pizza kim’at chinam (translation: “almost free pizza”). That is such cultural perfection that I don’t even know how to stop talking about how much I love it. It takes the “for you, a bargain!” sensibility of shopping in the shuk and applies it to pizza. I pictured the pitch meeting in my head.

Israeli #1: How do we convey that our product is affordable?
Israeli #2: We could give it away on the street…
Israeli #3: Tembel! We’re not giving anything away! We need people to buy it!
Israeli #1: Right…but maybe we could make them think about free stuff by saying it’s almost free.
Israeli #2: You mean like calling it “almost free pizza”?
Israeli #3: No, I’ve got it! We’ll call it “almost free pizza!”
Israeli #1: That’s genius…that way people will think about pizza and think about things that are almost free!
Israeli #2: Sigh.

I’ve never been inside to taste the pizza paradise, because that would ruin the magic. It’s like admiring something from afar and never doing anything about it, which I totally support as a lifestyle choice.

I do genuinely enjoy being in Israel. But let’s just say it’s the little things like this that make me fall in love.

*Click on thumbnail for full-sized image. 

THAT’S where you can buy them!

April 15, 2007

In case you were looking for homos…they can be purchased at this kiosk in Jerusalem.

You know…Felafel, shawerma…and homos.

homos for sale

I hear they go great with pita.

If you’re looking for HUMMUS though…you gotta find another kiosk.

*Shout out to my favorite fellow prairie dog lover for the photo credit.

The funniest sign in Israel

April 13, 2007

In case you were wondering, this sign means…

“We don’t know what the f*ck is that way.”

What the f*ck is that way


Someone thought it was important to let drivers know.


Would you like some foul Hummus with your souda?

April 12, 2007

Menus are funny in Israel. They can translate almost anything into crappy misspelled English words. I say almost anything because some words don’t have Translations. Words like Nana, which is a plant very similar to what we Anglos call mint. The only difference is that this mint is spelled N-A-N-A in English.

This is how our waiter actually presented the specials to us …

Spellcheck this menu please

Our Shishlik Chickens’ comes highly recommended.

Our hummus comes in two flavors, foul and mashroms.

How about some candy after your meal?

And for today only, behind door number 2, we have “deal of salads.”

If you’re gonna type it, you might as well spell check it.
Hell, we’ll do it for free for ya…just post your menu on Zabaj.

*Click on thumbnail for full-sized image.

Ass pop-ups

March 27, 2007

As a follow-up to our “Have a nice ass” posting about the new ad campaign by Crocker… we now see they’ve taken their campaign to the web (which is on computers now, apparently) in the form of pop-up ads on Israeli websites. Check out the screen-shot below, inviting people to peak at the girl’s ass… classy!

Ass popup