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A space holder. Text Graphic: 'Recommended Daily Requirement - Commercializing Hanukah (Or is it Chanukah?)'.

DATELINE: 23 December, 2002

Transmitted by STUART ALTMAN, USA

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g21 #336:
Holiday 2002 Special Edition


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RDR Logo. NEW YORK, NY, USA - According to some anti-Semites the Jews own Hollywood, the Banks, and the Media. However these anti-Semites would even have to agree there is something the Jews don't own, the Holiday Season.

Lets face it the Christians own that arena and don't look like they will give up space any time soon. It's not that I begrudge the Christians for their holiday fervor, it just as a Jewish person, I'm surprised we can't give them more competition. This year's Hanukah was hardly commercialized because it came the day after Thanksgiving. Who's planning this holiday? It's hard enough to compete with Christmas.

I realize there are many more Christians than Jews but I figure - with aggressive marketing - we can get back in the holiday ballgame. To do this we have to address why the holiday of Hanukah has not spread beyond the Jewish mainstream. Therefore I would like to bring up some marketing principles that will get Madison Avenue to finally pay attention to us.

The first principle of any marketing campaign is the "K.I.S.S." theory. No I'm not talking about Gene Simmons - who is Jewish but this is not an Adam Sandler song and I will not mention every single famous Jew! I'm talking about "Keep It Simple Stupid."

That's the first problem with the Jewish holiday because we don't even know how to pronounce the name. Is it Hanukah or Chanukah? I've even heard some people call it "Chaka Khan-ukah." Lets get a conference of Talmudic scholars together to settle this issue once and for all. If we intend to market this holiday correctly it has to have one name. In marketing one name sells- such as Madonna, Cher, and even Prince. However look what happened when Prince also became known as "the Artist Formerly known as Prince." Then no on knew what to call or how to market him and his career went downhill. The same thing has happened because no one knows how to pronounce our holiday.

Stuart Altman
Photo of Stuart Altman.
Next on my list, the Christians were brilliant to come up with Santa Claus, which gave a human element to the holiday. Marketing was then tied in when the Coca Cola Company first had Santa dressed in the red costume we know of today in one of their advertisements. I believe the Jews should do the same and pick a famous Jew to represent their holiday. I don't want some stodgy Old Testament character we got bored reading about in Hebrew School. We need someone new who can bring some life to the holiday. How about Sammy Davis Jr.? This will get some African Americans interested in our holiday. After all it has been proven through DNA that there are a number of Africans have a common Jewish Ancestry (The interesting part is in Africa the Christian churches took care of their villages and schools so these people consider themselves Christians).

Besides imagine taking you kid to the mall to see "Sammy Claus". I know this will work!

Now I know we made mistakes before when we tried to emulate Christmas. Like when we came up with the Hanukah Bush to compete with the Christmas tree. But everyone loves Sammy (except all his former wives and business partners) and instead of elves, the rest of the Rat Pack will surround him. If you think making our holiday a big Vegas lounge act is going too far, we could go to any temple and pick a Rabbi and the only difference between him and Santa would be that he would be wearing black instead of red.

The next way to get all these advertisers to pay attention to us is purchasing power. Most advertising is aimed mainly for youth because even though an older person may have more money they are usually set in their ways and not greatly influenced by advertising. The one big advantage that Hanukah has over Christmas is the benefits for kids. Hanukah is eight days and children are supposed to get a present each day. The problem is most Jewish families don't follow this tradition.

If we did follow this tradition we would have eight times our buying power and Madison Avenue could not ignore us. Toy manufacturers would have to tailor their products to Jews. There would be "Jewish American Princess Barbie" and "G.I. Joe with the Kung Fu grip and circumcision." Besides can you imagine how many children of other faiths would want to convert to Judaism just to get in on the gifts? Also when everyone knows that we give eight gifts, instead of one or two, to each kid we can finally get rid of the term "Cheap Jew."

One other area the Jews can start to compete in is Holiday Songs. Sure Adam Sandler is on his third version of the "Hanukah Song" but we're going to need others. Though, I'm not a songwriter I have a few title suggestions, instead of "Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer" we can have "Rabbi the Red Nose Alcoholic."(Manischevitz Wine of course). We can also change "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas" to "I'm Dreaming of an Eight-gift Hanukah."

Finally, Hanukah means the "Festival of Lights." To celebrate this festival we usually have a Menorah which we light a candle on each day and set it by the window so everyone can see. The problem is you always hear a few stories about how someone put the Menorah too close to the drapes and set the house on fire. I think its time Hanukah got modernized. If it's a "Festival of Lights" lets have a big laser light show in the sky. Get the Grucci family to make fireworks that explode into Giant Menorahs. This way no one can ignore our holiday anymore and people of all faiths can join in the celebration together. Once they get to know us better this will end all these stupid myths about Jews.. Sure my ideas may cost a fortune but don't forget we own the banks. Have a happy holiday everyone and light a candle for Hanukah. (Just don't put it too close to the drapes.)


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