You decide:

Produced by McCann Erickson, it has divided the nation as some are horrified by the use of the Separation Barrier as a prop in a light-hearted cell phone company commercial, while others see it as a harmless and humorous riff on an otherwise difficult issue – something Israelis are particularly well known for. Me? I think it’s cute but I am sure someone is going to jump down my throat and call me heartless. Or something.

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ck

Founder and Publisher of Jewlicious, David Abitbol lives in Jerusalem with his wife, newborn daughter and toddler son. Blogging as "ck" he's been blocked on twitter by the right and the left, so he's doing something right.

45 Comments

  • I give it a thumbs up. It shows Israeli soldiers as being human. It shows a moment of getting along in spite of the obstacles in front of us.

    The anti crowd is having a knee jerk reaction in my opinion.

    The wall is a strain on Palestinians and the reason it was needed is to save Israeli lives.

  • O.k., I thought it was cute too, but then I don’t live where you do and so I don’t see & live with the day-to-day realities of your situation… Personally, I try to find the ‘funny’ in life, the ridiculous, and not get jumped up about every ding-danged thing…Like the Quiznos ads…But that’s just me.

  • Fascinating.

    I find it disturbing.

    The security barrier is necessary but it causes hardships to the Palestinians. The hardships are there, to be sure, because of Palestinian terrorism which caused Israel to build the war, but it still makes life much harder for many Palestinians, most of whom have nothing to do with terrorism.

    The Israelis also have to deal with the barrier, but since they set it up, it’s a little unfair to depict it as a source of fun or pleasure.

    On the other hand, this ad is a powerful visual metaphor and can be analyzed at length for the many ideas it raises.

  • This ad offends me in how hot the actors are. This ad is discriminating against the ugly members of Israeli society by not depicting any of them.

  • I think the ad is stupid, but far from the stupidest thing marketing in Israel has come up with.

    Some of you might remember Rafael’s video for their Indian customers (Bolllywood-esque video with actors dancing around missiles and singing in a thick Israeli accent).

    But the award for most offensive ad I have ever seen has got to go to this YES commercial. It defies words – just watch it. (By the way, it is also a product of McCann Erickson.)

    While searching I found this list of Top Ten Most Offensive Israeli Ads. Enjoy.

  • I just find the fact that the soldiers were nervous that the settlers (on the other side of the wall) wouldn’t give back the ball was a bit disturbing.

  • I liked the ad. It made me smile. I’m simple minded that way. Yoffi Toffi Achla Bachla. Heh. And did y’all notice the Bansky graffiti? In an ad for Cellcom? That’s what probably made me smile the most.

  • I don’t get it. There is some fairly sophisticated, but ill-functioning ball return machine on the other side of the wall?
    I mean, you don’t mean to imply that the ball is being returned by other human beings, right? If there were, we would surely see, or at least hear, them, now wouldn’t we?

  • Well Koshiro, now you’re getting all deep and stuff. No, the presumption is that Palestinians on the other side are kicking the ball. Some have taken offense because you don’t see them at all. And in daily life it’s true – we hardly ever “see” WB Palestinians. The enforced segregation, occasioned by security concerns, prevents us from interacting on a regular basis with WB Palestinians. But in this video, the interaction was initiated by the Palestinians on the other side. The Israelis at first reacted with alarm but then the Palestinians kicked the ball back, forcing the Israelis to acknowledge them. The ball flying over the fence wasn’t an accident. It was a challenge! And rather than ignore it and continue with their patrol, the soldiers decided to interact with the other side in a way far more pleasant than what they are used to. So sure the interaction happened with a wall in between them, and they never saw each other but, well, baby steps right? It showed the possibility of non-violent interaction. Yoffi toffi achla bachla!

  • Okay, first of all: Please don’t discuss this from a realistic perspective. The “challenging” Palestinian player(s? We don’t know) would have to be the best soccer player on the planet to hit the engine block of the jeep, just going by faint motor sounds – in case it didn’t occur to you, he/she/them couldn’t see the Israeli guys either.

    But my question is: Why is/are the Palestinian(s) not shown? Or heard? If you can come up with a better answer than “Because they are not relevant to the ‘we’ referred to in the ad”, let’s hear it.

  • Because it reflects the reality of the existence of most Israelis and most Palestinians. They don’t see or experience each other in real life. The security barrier has just made this more clear by creating a real life metaphor for their separateness and separation. The idea of the ad is that you could film the exact same ad if you were on the other side, except you’d have Palestinians instead of Israelis.

    It’s actually an ad about sameness not about differences.

  • Bleh. I don’t find the ad disturbing per se, just a little bizarre. It doesn’t persuade me to consider their service (and I don’t live in Israel anyway).

  • Commentary on the ad – in depth, with seasonal (i.e., Tisha B’Av/Lamentations) connection – soon come on hartman.org.il – by Yair Lipshitz, Hartman scholar. Excellent piece.

  • @ themiddle
    Then why didn’t they? I mean, that’s what I just asked. If the point is to show “sameness”, they certainly did not achieve that by only showing *only one side*.

    See, the almost total ignorance of the “other” would be a worrying situation if we were talking about normal, neighbouring nations, here. But we aren’t. Ordinary Israelis might be ignorant of what Palestinians’ lives are like, but they still – via their elected government – get to govern said lives in almost every aspect, while the Palestinians get no say whatsoever in this. And that moves the ignorance – which is the crucial point here – from the realm of “worrying” to “unacceptable”.

    If you govern millions of other people – and Israel does, the authority-less, impotent PA is just a facade – you are morally obliged to at least try and understand what exactly you are governing. That’s also the difference for the Palestinians – they may be just as ignorant of ordinary Israelis, but they don’t get to meddle into said Israelis’ lives.

    All my not quite so humble opinion.

  • It’s a good ad in that we’re talking about it. Also, it gives us (and hopefully “them”) some hope. But if I were a Palestinian I’d probably have a different opinion.

  • As cute as people may find the ad, our reality is that there IS an 8 meter high concrete wall dividing populations. That in itself is madness. What we, on the Israeli side, keep forgetting is that as much as we built a ghetto on the other side, we did it to ourselves too.

  • LB, TODAH!! I saw that Yes ad before a film in an Israeli theatre a couple years ago and had been attempting to find it on youtube to show American friends how completely RIDICULOUS it is ever since…now they don’t think I’m making it up anymore!

  • First of all, am I the only one who can just take things for what they are, simply a cute ad that made me smile? I know, I know, politics shmolitics. blah blah blah. Secondly, I am appalled that I am the only one who appreciates a good Top Gun reference!
    ck – do me a favor, back me up on this one, will ya?

  • Of course NYT jumps on the opportunity to show pro-Israel jews on the “wrong” side of things (read: disagreeing with them). It finishes by admonishing the ad for showing things as so simple. People are stupid – but not THAT stupid. This as was meant for ISRAELI viewers, who know what the wall is, who have served in the army. It was not meant for youtube, and keeping that in mind is incredibly important when analyzing it. Lastly, this is Israel – Israeli culture is not big on PC or tact. That’s just the way it is (I like it), so analyzing it through western eyes is also foolhardy.

  • It’s poor advertising.
    It’s a stolen concept (Connecting people… Nokia Hello?). It’s offensive to Soldiers, Palestinians and anyone who isn’t brain dead.

    It’s crappier than my daughter’s diapers.

    The heads should be rolling at Cellcom & Mcann Erickson over this one. I wonder how long till Mcann global starts feeling the fallout. Did anyone say Boycott?…

    BTW… 1257 people so far have joined a Facebook group called (and I translate): “The new Cellcom ad makes me sick too” http://www.new.facebook.com/group.php?gid=99694422833

    Way to go Mcann…

  • oh mike, mike mike. would it be less offensive if it were the crips & the bloods? and granted, the ad’s a cliché (it also reminded me of an 80s Sunkist commercial), maybe it’s time we stop we stop over-analyzing everything. the reality is what is it is, like it or not. there happens to be this wall, and the israelis and the palestinians and it is only natural that it will show up in the media. this debate reminds me of what immediately followed 9/11, but it seemed that it was the rest of the nation and not new york that had the most sensitivity to seeing the World Trade Center. For those of us (and by “those of us” i guess, i really mean just me, since i can’t get into everyone’s head) who had grown up in new york & experienced the events of 9/11/01, it was like people were trying to erase reality. For us, who have real memories of the being in the buildings, and had that as part of our daily landscape it felt like people wanted to forget they ever existed, and made the buildings into a symbol of tragedy, while for me, as tragic as the destruction is, the buildings for me represent something totally different. The events of 9/11/01 for me represent something different. They aren’t symbolic, in fact they don’t “represent” anything, they’re facts of life. It was something terrible that happened. Get over it. I’m not saying to forget it ever happened, of course not. But it did happen. Move on.
    This ad is using what the reality is here today. I still think it is a cute ad, nothing more, nothing less. It still reminds me of Top Gun.
    and damn you, mike, see what you did, you made me get all deep, and think-y and stuff (i even capitalized words. i CAPITALIZED. and wrote a long comment, thus defying my whole “brevity is the soul of wit” thing i’ve got going on. my comment was neither brief nor witty) if you excuse me, i’ll revert to my e.e. cummings style of typing, and someone, get me a cheesy 80’s movie, or a sitcom or a LOLcat or something STAT (or the terrorists will have won)!!!!

  • HAHA! you nearly sent me back to the hospital because when seeing that i almost cracked my head open from falling off the chair in a fit of laughter. new meaning to “cracking up”?

  • @Jess now I’m cracking up:

    “there happens to be this wall” ???

    So it just “happened” right?

  • Well, if you get right down to it, the Palestinian war of 2000 and their refusal to come to peace with the Israelis made that barrier, most of which is fence and not wall, “happen.” Sharon was loathe to build a “wall” because he believed it would become a de facto border.

  • that’s exactly my point! i don’t want to get into a dialogue as to the “whys & the wherefores” of how they wall got there or who put it there, or whether it’s a “wall,” “fence” or “barrier.” that’s semantics. in fact, i try to avoid discussing israeli politics altogether (american politics: gay marriage, abortion, rahm’s missing finger… – i’m there!).
    the bottom line is that today there happens, yes, happens, to be a…. “structure” that does, i admit, have extremely volatile connotations, however, in the context of this ad, and any other context for that matter, it is an a posteriori fact is that “there happens to be this wall.”

  • So in your view the Twin Towers just “happened” to disappear on 9/11. I mean that would be the logic you stand behind… Or, that fact, maybe, touches you more deeply than an 8 meter concrete monster we have to look at every day. I am sorry I don’t find it that fun as Cellcom & Mcann Erickson did in the commercial.

  • you’re missing my point. i am not saying that the buildings “happened” to disappear, or a wall “happened” to appear. tragedies occur, political situations are volatile. but realities being what they are, you can’t pretend they don’t exist. but that doesn’t mean that it has to cause this major political discourse. i’m taking a prima facie view of the ad. that’s all. i’m not denying that strife exists. i don’t think you are getting what i’m saying. it’s your prerogative to disagree with me, but it seems that you don’t even understand my whole point. and do i think this ad is the greatest ad since coca-cola taught the world to sing or alka-seltzer plopped & fizzed? no, it’s just a commercial!

    c’est tout! sacré bleu!

  • if you think my reaction is “shallow,” so be it, i’m not going to argue the virtues or non-virtues of americans. you don’t know me at all to make that assessment and i’m not going to sit here and defend myself. all i did was state my opinion of the ad, and reasons for it. they happen not to be shallow, but whatever. if you want to extrapolate from that that i am shallow, so be it. damnant quodnon intelligunt.

    CK – I’M GONNA KILL YOU!

  • The ad is genius. The fact that it’s generating this much talk is proof.

    It’s cute and clever advertising with a subtle provocative message…and you’re gullible as all get out if you don’t think it’s intentional….. did they really just accidentally happen to film at the Banksy piece ? Of course not.

    The wall is saving lives, and it’s a reality of daily life…which painful as it may be for some of you to admit, does still offer light hearted magical moments….kind of like that really gross, but well executed Banksy mural people love so much. Chew on that.

  • blip – that’s what i’ve been trying to say! some people just missed my point and baited me into further discussion. and yes, there is no doubt that they intentionally filmed it at the banksy mural.
    it still reminds me of top gun, and ck, i’m still gonna kill you.

  • I wasn’t thinking about Arabs, but rather that the soldiers were playing with settlers that had been fenced out of Israel and left on the other side. There are also no religious soldiers that came to the spontaneous party.

    So all in all, I thought it was a nice religious-secular getting connected piece. Thumbs up.

  • I wonder how many people who live barricaded behind the wall, or spend their days & nights patrolling it, find Cellcom & Mccann Erickson’s joint production of this abomination to sensibilities “cute”.

    Of course when it’s Jews at the wrong end of the advertising stick we “Can’t help but wonder”: https://jewlicious.com/2009/07/i-couldnt-help-but-wonder

    Is that the acrid stench of hypocrisy I detect?

    The only way I can justify the ad is if they were targeting the contractors that made a fortune building the f*cking wall…

    Mike
    ROIcom?
    Don’t forget to FEED ME – http://tr.im/feedme

  • Mike, you add nothing but hyperbole and hysteria.

    You can’t even articulate what it is you find offensive, just that you’re offended.
    Why do you even think someone is on the “wrong end of the advertising stick” with this commercial at all!? Here we are talking about the wall and Israelis in Tel Aviv are confronted with the realities of the wall existence while in their living rooms. How knee jerk of you to miss the value of that just to play the outraged Leftist parrot.

    So wait, you don’t like the wall? You don’t say. Well that’s a deep. Truly original, when even those who support the wall, don’t particularly like that it’s there.

  • Mikeleh, Ya think the IDF launched tear gas as a response to a ball being kicked over the fence? If only the protesters at Bilin restricted themselves to just kicking balls then everything would indeed be relatively yoffi toffi achlah bachlah. Instead however they throw rocks, hurl invective and try to cut the fence. If you really believe that “This is how a soccer ‘match’ between real IOF soldiers and Palestinians really looks” then I have a video idea for you! Go to Bilin. Bring ten soccer balls. Put on a keffiya and wave a Palestinian flag. Kick a couple of balls over the fence. See what happens. I’m betting… nothing.

    But other than that thanks to the link to that lovely piece of staged political propaganda. Maybe we can get a Nike Soccer endorsement?

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