Sunday, April 15, 2007

Goodbye Philly Cream Cheese

Nothing could be weirder on the night before Yom HaShoah - Holocaust Remembrance Day -than watching Middle Eastern Satellite TV.
The Oprah Show - with Arabic subtitles - featuring Bill O'Riley in a "Town Hall" session discussing the War on Terror is sponsored by Philadelphia Cream Cheese, whose commercial is also in Arabic.
Other sponsors included the Ford Motor Company (promoting a vehicle called "The Edge"), and Nestle (a French company, as my father rightly points out - but who doesn't expect hypocrisy and moral relativism from the French?)
Kraft Foods knows marketing. Visit
for more information about what fine demographically customized products Kraft is selling to the ENORMOUS Arab market here in the Middle East.
For those who don't know, up until 1 month ago I was an advertising & media maven in L.A., America's #2 media market. Guess what I know for a stone-cold fact? ADVERTISING SUPPORTS CONTENT.
The Middle Eastern Satellite TV service I subscribe to features 340 channels. 3 of them are Israeli TV stations with Hebrew-language programming. 10 other channels are English-language programming such as "Desperate Housewives," "Gray's Anatomy," etc. with Arabic subtitles, surrounded by commercials in Arabic for every product and service imaginable (many of which originate in the U.S.). The other 327 are all Arabic-language channels devoted to a variety of programming both sacred and profane, campy and kitchy (by American media standards) but ALL of which are AD-SUPPORTED.
Who are these Advertisers? Ford. Chevrolet. Kraft. All the big ones - from "back home," who can't afford NOT to market to this huge segment of the world's population.
Could we win the "War on Terror" if American companies refused to export automobiles, cream cheese, chocolate pudding and instant coffee to the Arab League Countries who refuse to recognize the State of Israel, support terrorism and consistently call for Israel's demise? Of course we could - but we won't, because that isn't the "American Way" anymore.
The American Way is about developing emerging markets, delivering products, increasing margins, growing cash flow and decreasing operating costs.
What does any of this have to do with remembering the Holocaust? Just that nothing much has changed - the business of America is still business, we still sell anything we can to whomever wants to buy it, and instead of using our economic clout to reward our allies and punish our adversaries, we sell whatever we can to whomever we can whenever we can.
I'm not suggesting that the nice families in Bahrain, Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Jordan, Egypt and the other fun countries that surround the State of Israel don't deserve to enjoy chocolate pudding, instant coffee, cream cheese or motor vehicles. I just don't see why it has to be AMERICAN chocolate pudding, instant coffee, cream cheese and cars, when their governments, their clerics, their press and their "educational" institutions have made it part of the fabric of everyday life in Arab cultures and societies to vilify America and everything American.
But they like our stuff. And we sell it to we can make more money and buy more stuff...from China.
Oy. So good-bye Philly Cream Cheese. I just can't spread you on my bagel anymore. It's just too wierd.

No comments: