SDM Campaign – A Story of ‘Sex Sells’ Marketing

As the competition gets tougher, I guess people started to run out of new ideas to promote places. Recently, I ran into this very interesting campaign from Israel – Size Doesn’t Matter (SDM). I believe this video is only a viral advertisement product (it is ‘too hot’ for the TV maybe, who knows?).

I don’t know where to start. Now, the idea is interesting because this particular marketing understanding is not widely used in place branding. But at the end of the say, ‘sex sells’ is one of the oldest advertising pseudo-strategies. Several products, from toilet paper to underwear, were advertised with sexual imagery. SDM campaign most probably used these suggestive scenes and dialogues to attract young people’s attention. Yet, is it the right way to go in place marketing? If you look at the images in SDM’s website intro, you will see many more nice looking men and women. Though once you are in the website, the campaign starts telling you about how Israel has big ideas, how the country is big on the environment, and on diversity. In fact, there is information on the website – once you pass the photos.

As far as I can see, SDM is a global PR campaign. I would love to hear Israeli people’s reactions. I won’t be very happy if a PR agency decides to promote my country in a similar way.

I understand that Israel is trying to diversify the news coverage and arguments on the country, but there are so many other things that could and should be introduced. I am not sure why such a suggestive and a little bit disturbing way is chosen. Some of the slogans and lines even don’t make sense unless you constantly think about the sex analogy. Why don’t you go to a small country for vacation? (Several exotic travel destinations are small countries). Why are you surprised when someone tells you Israel is small? (It is less than 0.01% of the world’s total area) What is wrong about going south in winter? Why small size big appetite for peace? (Who says small countries don’t like peace?) Last but not the least, who said anything about size and countries?

Israeli branding attempts and public diplomacy understanding taught me a lot of things. SDM, the newest piece, taught me how not to use bad marketing/advertising moves in place/nation branding.

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