(Read the full story here: travel.nytimes.com/2007/07/30/business/media/30adv-w.html)
The North American office of the Israel Ministry of Tourism is running an $11 million ad campaign - the ministry’s largest ever - that suggests visitors will “love Israel from the first ‘Shalom.’ ”
Featuring a cross-section of welcoming Israelis who include an archeologist, chef, cowboy, dancer and high-tech executive, the ads are part of a plan to double North American tourism to Israel by 2010, said Arie Sommer, Israel’s Tourism Commissioner for North and South America. Approximately 600,000 North Americans traveled to Israel last year, 30 percent of the country’s total and its largest single group of visitors
Mal MacDougall, chief creative officer of Communications Plus in New York, the ministry’s ad agency, said these individuals “are a cross-section, real Israelis. They’re not models or famous, they’re real, everyday people.”
He also said they were chosen because they represent the “breadth Israelis have. For example, the dancer does studies in the animal world. We tried to get people who were not just a doctor, who do nothing but be a doctor.”
The campaign’s tagline, “You’ll love Israel from the first ‘Shalom’ ” was chosen, Mr. Sommer said, because it reflects the “warm feelings between American people and the people of Israel.”
Maya Weiser, the dancer in the campaign, is shown posing on a beach in Tel Aviv. The copy asks, “Who can say ‘Shalom’ more eloquently” than she, and explains that she has danced since she was 6 and been a member of the Batsheva Dance Company, and that she now studies animal science at Hebrew University.