The other side is presenting this as a BDS win. As far as I can see it’s a complete failure for BDS.
French telecommunications giant Orange agreed to part ways with Israel’s second-largest mobile company Partner Communications on Tuesday.
The move, which will be enforced in February, brings an end to a licensing agreement that the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement claimed on Wednesday was a direct result of their campaigning.
Here’s the problem with presenting this as a BDS win. Orange had a sweetheart deal: they did pretty much nothing and every year an Israeli telecom giant called Partner sent them a big fat royalty cheque for using their name in Israel.
Following the asshat comments of Orange’s boss, Stephane Richard, Orange pandered to an Arab audience and caused a bit of a kerfuffle. It would appear that Orange is the new stupid.
On Wednesday, Richard said he would gladly sever ties with Israel “tomorrow” if it wasn’t so financially prohibitive.
Well now he was forced to sever ties, because Partner quite rightly figured out they don’t need to keep paying a stupid business tax to France just to use a name. It turns out that Israeli consumers don’t really care about the name on their phone bill, as long as the phone bill is cheap!
I completely predicted this back in June!
So I have a simple solution. Tell Orange to b*gger off with their brand, stop paying a stupid license fee and rebrand. We can do better. Orange is the colour of prison jump suits, it’s tainted.
And the cost of getting out of that deal early for the French company? A whopping $54.3m now and of course (unspoken) the loss in future earnings had they kept trousering the royalty payments.
However, the telecoms giant said in a statement that it would continue to invest in Israel through other avenues. “Orange acknowledges Partner’s decision to terminate the brand license agreement and re-brand its activities,” the statement read. “As previously announced, Orange will be able to use its brand for its continuing investments in technological innovation in Israel.”
According to Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz, Partner stands to receive $54.3 million in compensation for agreeing to release Orange from the brand agreement. The company has marketed its products in Israel under the Orange name since it was founded in 1998 and must now embark on a rebranding process.
So Orange isn’t leaving Israel, just their expensive name is and Partner “must now embark on a rebranding process”. I can assure you, $54.2m goes a very long way toward rebranding in tiny little Israel!
This, my friends, is a win for the Israeli company.
Which is why I’d like to propose, again, to Partner that if they’d like to hire me as a brand consultant, I’d gladly take a low, low fee of, say, $100,000 and propose to them their new brand.