Ha’aretz’s Racy New Ad

Ha’aretz seems to be getting really desperate for readers, judging by their new ad.

Hollywood Reporter:

A provocative 53-second commercial promoting the website for Israel’s oldest daily newspaper, Ha’aretz, is pushing the envelope in the Holy Land. The spot, which surfaced online via YouTube Sunday and currently has more than 100,000 views, features a couple engaging in multiple sexual positions while the male complains about the act being mundane and outdated, indirectly referring to the publication’s traditional reputation.

“The design is impressive and comfortable, but user experience as a whole — there’s a slight sense of ‘been there, done that,'” says the actor, with the female on top of him, followed by the slogan “Life is not as interesting as Ha’aretz’s new website.”

Ha’aretz, which translates to “The Land” in Hebrew, was founded in 1919 and is Israel’s leading traditional publication. Its online edition has been made available for paying readers since March.

The commercial sparked immediate outrage from women’s groups in Israel and prompted deputy speaker of the Knesset, Pnina Tamano-Shata to send a formal letter to Ha’aertz publisher Amos Schocken demanding it be removed. She also demanded an apology to female readers, adding that the publication should “express zero tolerance toward offensive manifestations of blatant sexism.”

The Walla! Israel news website reported earlier today that dozens of Ha’aretz staff members have initiated an impromptu petition, also demanding the commercial be taken down. The petition stated that “the newspaper we are all proud of elected to advertise itself in one of the most despicable, sexist commercials seen in recent time, with an ad that promotes pornographic content in the vein of edgy appeal to younger audiences…. We’re ashamed today to work in a newspaper that under false pretense of irony and sophistication (with questionable quality) showcases a silent female as a sexual object.”

Ha’aretz has yet to comment on the controversy.

I personally stopped reading Ha’aretz because – to continue their analogy – I did not want to pay for the sex and found that having a partner leaning so heavily to the left made things extremely uncomfortable and predictable for me.

Besides, I would feel really guilty afterwards.

Update: I wonder what the racy commercials of others Israeli sites might look like..

  • JPost – couple having sex, with the man slipping, tripping over and generally screwing everything up, all while lights are flashing on and off and whistles are sounding
  • Ynet – couple watching another couple having sex, and then copying their exact moves
  • Times of Israel – couple having sex and then feeling the need to publish a blog post about it
  • Debka – couple not really having sex but claiming they did…with aliens

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media