Sharing Israel’s Values Through Pride Week

This week Tel Aviv will be celebrating its traditional Pride Parade, which in pre-Covid years brought 30,000 foreigners from around the world to fly to Israel and take part in what is considered the “biggest Pride parade in the Middle East” (over 250,000 people in 2019). Ok, so that’s not too hard a feat considering our neighborhood, but hey, we’re a tiny country and yet the Pride Parades of Rome, Buenos Aires and Miami are smaller than Tel Aviv’s. Good enough for us!


The Israeli Ministry of Tourism, which is back in full throttle now the borders are fully open and PCR tests are a thing of the past, is eager to bring back tourists to Israel, match the record numbers of 2019 (almost 5 million tourists, as compared to approximately 2.5 million five years earlier), and hopefully exceed it. Yes, they’re continuing the uber-successful Jerusalem-Tel Aviv City Break campaign, sharing images of our beaches, the sun, food, heritage and culture, and in a really cool way to entice young people to visit…



…but what we’re noticing this year is a welcome departure – if temporary – from that messaging, into something more specific, yet infinitely – in our opinion – more effective.


If you happen to be in Times Square, or at a bus stop in London or Amsterdam, you may come across these digital and print ads for Tel Aviv’s Pride Parade, inviting people to attend. This is what’s known as “targeted marketing” to a very specific audience, albeit in very public places, with a very specific “Call to Action“: come to Israel for Pride Week this June!



We think it would have been even more impressive if the website shown at the bottom was a direct link to purchase a subsidized Pride Package (rather than a general link to Tel Aviv’s great tourism website). We think that’s a missed opportunity, but perhaps there were considerations there we’re not aware of. Same with the YouTube videos shared by Tel Aviv Global and the Ministry – there definitely could have been a link embedded into the videos that takes any one of the over 8 million people who viewed it to a subsidized package landing page. If they didn’t want or were unable to subsidize it, they could at least have offered local travel companies such landing page to advertise their packages, like this one:



But even without the “Click to buy a package” Call to Action, what we think is so great about this campaign, is that it’s not just your average tourism ad-spend. There are three things at play here:

  1. The ads were very specifically chosen in three geographic locations: London, Amsterdam and New York, and placed in areas where they have maximum visibility to targeted audiences. We can only assume the Tourism Ministry made these choices based on research they had done to assess the largest concentration of LGBTQ’s who may be interested not only in a bit of Pride, but also a beach vacation. They didn’t go for Miami, or Madrid or Sao Paolo, because it’s less likely people will invest in a ticket to a destination which not only is far away, it also offers something a bit similar to what they can experience at home. Another reason may be that they weren’t necessarily expecting people to buy tickets, but they did want to raise awareness in these cities for what Tel Aviv has to offer this specific community. Brand awareness is no less important than conversion to “sales” (buying tickets to visit and actually coming), because it builds loyalty and interest, so that the next time Israel or Tel Aviv want to make an “offer”, there will already be people who are interested.
  2. The ads were focusing on one, singular community and one singular event. This makes the offering timely and urgent, which is good for conversion, and keeps the costs of advertising down (it ain’t cheap to advertise at Times Square or take up valuable “real estate” offered by cities at bus stops and major traffic areas).
  3. And most importantly, the ads tell a story of Israel that the world doesn’t necessarily know, and this is the part we like the most about what the Tourism Ministry did, in partnership with Tel Aviv Global and Tourism, the global marketing arm of Tel Aviv Municipality. Research shows that young people – the very ones that these ads are trying to attract – think mainly of one thing when they think of Israel: Religion. Not just Judaism; they also think of Christianity, Islam and all related aspects of Religion, when they think of Israel: Jesus, Jerusalem, the Holy Land, etc. Now, if you’re a member of the LGBTQ community and the first thing that you associate Israel with is “Religion”, clearly you’re not going to think that it’s the best place to celebrate Pride Week. But that’s the thing about Israel, isn’t it? It surprises you, in so many ways. And of course, it turns out Tel Aviv is one of the BEST cities in the world to celebrate your Pride this week!


So we like this campaign because what these ads are doing is much more than encouraging tourism to Israel. What they’re really doing, is telling a story of Israel that not enough people know about. And not only are they telling it, they’re celebrating it! This is absolutely crucial for Israel’s global reputation, and we cannot assume the world already knows about this specific aspect of what Israel can offer, just because we – the Israelis and Jewish Diaspora – know.


We hope to see many more ads like this, that highlight an aspect of Israel that is unexpected to the masses, and has major appeal. But honestly? We don’t even care if people actually buy tickets (after all, we at Vibe Israel aren’t measuring success based on the number of tourists visiting Israel, like the Ministry and Tel Aviv Global & Tourism are). We’re in the business of building brand awareness for Israel, and we think this is one helluva way to achieve that!


Featured Photo by @OrKaplan

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