Tuesday, October 07, 2008

The Bad Marketing Syndrome

Or: How to lose potential clients and alienate a blogger or two

Apparently, I'm lacking sass. Because I'm Jewish (it's the nose, I'm telling you). But don't fret. A press release from the PR company that handles makeup artist Ramy Gafni and his product line has the cure for me: A pink lipstick.
Confused? Don't be. Here's the brilliant pitch I received today:

What Do A Male Makeup Artist And Jewish Author Have In Common?
Author Taps Makeup Guru RAMY For Creative Spark, Inspires Limited Edition Lipstick

Do Shiksas really have more fun? Ramy Gafni, NYC’s celebrity makeup artist and brow guru thinks so. He has partnered with author Laurie Graff, to create a limited edition Shiksa Goddess Lipstick to coincide with the debut of Graff’s novel The Shiksa Syndrome. This lipstick has so much sass, you are sure to forget about the Challah!

SHIKSA: n. Yiddish
1. A non – Jewish woman
2. A quintessential blonde beauty
3. The polar opposite of the quintessential Jewish mother
4. A type of woman who instills deep longing in Jewish men
5. A Jewish boy’s dream
6. A Jewish girl’s nightmare


Would the lipstick make me tall and blonde? Is it going to make my nose smaller? Should I change my blog's name to something sexier for the sake of Jewish boys who dream of Shiksas?

Does anyone really think that it's a good idea to push a product with the message that one needs to hide/change/deny their heritage in order to look more appealing?
(At least they didn't mention gefilte fish. We should all be thankful)

I was asked earlier today if I'm offended by this spiel. I'm not. Ramy Gafny is Jewish and I doubt he or anyone at the PR firm had any bad intentions. I just find the whole thing beyond stupid. And challa has too many carbs, anyway.

Edited to add: Follow Up (and more bad marketing) here.

Image: from Segment no. 3 of New York Stories, Woody Allen's Oedipus Wrecks. The Jewish mother appears in the sky to berate her son until his relationship with the shiksa (Mia Farrow) falls apart and he replaces her with a Jewish psychic (Julie Kavner). Woody has made a career of lusting after blonde shiksas only to marry Soon-Yi.


  1. Because you know all non-Jewish women are blond and that there are no blond Jewish women. Gag, this advertising campaign is beyond stupid.

  2. Jenavira, I know! Stupid doesn't even begin to describe it. Did they really think such a campaign would make any sane woman buy this lipstick?

  3. They probaby thought it would be tongue-in-cheek. Still....unsuccessful. Your choice of pic though is fab!!LOL

  4. You realize the whole point/story line of the book is a Jewish girl who has trouble finding a Jewish guy, because they have an infatuation with "shiksas"....so she dies her hair blonde and pretends not to be Jewish, and winds up meeting and dating this great Jewish guy....only to realize she's caught up in the lie and can't tell him the truth...sort of like Bridget Jone's for the Jewish princesses of the world...a quick trip to Border's website would have cleared up the rationale for you...

    If you can HONESTLY say that is not the case in the real world (Because its a long running JDate joke that Jewish guys TOTALLY prefer the shiksas over a "nice jewish girl") then you clearly have been living under a rock in Kansas....

    Do you think the campaign to promote Manolo Blahniks, Magnolia bakery or the Meat Packing district as chic in SATC made any "sane woman" go out and buy those things or pay to take the SATC tour when they were visiting NYC as a tourist? Or perhaps even gift their friends the "SATC Cosmo" on facebook in honor of the movie? Better yet, where did that funny little craze of women being obsessed with Absolut Vodka pink cosmos come from?? hmmmm, I wonder....

  5. Oh, I love challah! Although I pronounce it "holla" which I *think* is correct, but it makes my girls think of the rapper shout-out so they burst into gales of laughter... I'm one of those WASPy chicks but not the *right* kind of WASP -- brunette, and too short.

    I'm trying to decide ... if, say, Ralph Lauren did this in reverse and came up with JAP (?), something dark and sultry for God's Chosen Women, who would that offend?... everyone, probably, although the fact that Lauren himself is/was Jewish complicates things.

    While I'm digging myself in, can you be ex-Jewish? I mean, if Ralph started attending the Episcopal church, which for all I know he does with Ricky, isn't he still Jewish in the eyes of some Jewish people? I thought it was a birthright (e.g., your mother is Jewish) and immutable, but maybe I am wrong?

    You can be Episcopalian if you own a Lilly dress and can make a decent martini, and drink it before noon.

    (I kid, I kid.)

  6. Helg, yes, it was definitely a lame attempt at humor, but they're no Woddy Allen ;)

  7. Dear "Anon" (from Behrman PR),
    SATC was a TV show and a movie, not a press release. It managed to glamorize places, items and drinks through well-written episodes, beautiful cinematography and creating a palatable fantasy. Not by making the audience feel like we do not measure up.

  8. March, good thing I finished my tea before reading your comment...

    I love the Ralph analogy. He is still Jewish, I think (you're Jewish until you convert, as far as I know), but he markets his horsies and Hamptons fantasies to everyone equally. Now if he can just make a decent perfume...
    (I hoard a couple of bottles of his original Lauren in parfum. Interesting juice)

    And "holla" makes the best French toast...

  9. LMAO....good for you for outing the PR Company responsible for this idiotic pitch. I got the same one in my inbox and quickly hit the delete button.

  10. Thanks, Lianne. Don't blame you for deleting the thing. It really belongs in the trash.

  11. Oh wow. I see they meant it to be funny and quirky, but this press release crosses way too many lines!

  12. I got this pr via email as well. The subject line alone was enough to make me hit the delete button.

  13. Jen, I know. Sometimes the line between funny and bad taste can be too easy to cross.

  14. Elke, thanks so much. I'm glad to see others share my feelings about this.


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