Thursday, May 22, 2008

Sex and the City of Jerusalem

We told them, the way you don't remove the word "Coca" from "Coca-Cola" and just leave "Cola," we can't do it in this case.

- Arye Barak, spokesperson for Forum Films, distributor of the movie Sex and the City in Israel

In Associated Press, "Sex and the City ads Banned in Two Israeli Cities," MSNBC.COM, May 20, 2008

Traditional sensibilities collided with modernity with the release of the movie Sex and the City in two Israeli cities. Municipal officials in the Israeli cities of Jerusalem and Petah Tikva asked the outdoor advertising company working for Forum Films not to use the word "sex" for ads about the movie. Those cities have large "religious" populations, the officials said, and they would be offended by use of the word. (Cities in the rest of Israel had no problem with the ad campaign.) Executives did not go forward with outdoor ads in Jerusalem and Petah Tikvah because they felt it would be "ludicrous" to show the name of the movie without its key word. An alternative, somewhat subversive way to have proceeded would have been to play with the first word: Six and the City or --- and the City. That might have alerted people in those cities who would know the show that the movie would be playing there. It might have led to widespread word-of-mouth advertising among the target audience. And presumably religious segments of the population would have less reason to complain. Non-religious people who use popular media in those two cities are likely to still see ads, though: The movie is heavily advertised on TV, the Internet and in newspapers.

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