Saturday, March 26, 2016

Sodastream campaign scores public diplomacy victory

image from article

A video showing Jews and Arabs working together in a Negev factory has garnered millions of views in the Arab world.

Three weeks ago, 74 employees were fired from the Sodastream factory. The terminations were part of the transfer of the factory from the Palestinian territories to Rahat due to the international pressure from the BDS movement.

The factory was essential to the company’s belief in coexistence and communication, but when Israel did not extend the work permits for the Palestinians, they were forced to leave. Now it appears the unsympathetic story has an optimistic twist in the form of a campaign released by the company in Arab countries.

As part of its marketing, Sodastream created a campaign to show the cooperation between Arabs and Jews in the factory. In its initial phase, the company posted several untranslated versions to Facebook. But after requests from the Swedish and Jordanian embassies – which wanted to use it for their public diplomacy efforts – Sodastream translated the clips to English and Arabic and paid for their promotion.

When the video was met with positive responses in Jordan, it raised the notion of publishing the campaign in other Arab states. The campaign was allocated a million shekels, and Sodastream turned to Google to effectively target the campaign in those countries.

The campaign began airing two weeks ago in the Arab world, in countries like Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Saudi Arabiam and Kuwait. There have been more than 2.4 million views in those countries, garnering both positive and negative responses.

Sodastream spokesperson Maayan Nave said: “Coexistence, fraternity, and diversity are showcased in the video ‘Sodastream – an island of peace’ which was filmed at the Sodastream industrial complex in the Negev, and they are essential to the reality and to the values at the core of Sodastream.

“The video has accumulated more than 35 million views in social media platforms across the world and generated interest from global media outlets; it has even been used for diplomacy by Israeli embassies worldwide. We decided to invest in promoting the video in Arab countries, in which we have no commercial operations, to provide a different visual in the media landscape.”

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