Nov 22, 2010

Jewish Agencies and Viral Videos

There have been a lot of Jewish organizations and agencies putting out videos lately in attempts to fundraise and connect Jews. Many of them have been downright embarrassing and excessively inappropriate (think: Jewish Portland "Do you do it?" video and its porno music) and others have garnered mixed reactions (think: AJWS video featuring lots of non-Jews talking about the good works of AJWS).

This all makes me wonder: Why are Jewish organizations rolling out these videos? Are they resulting in $$ returns? Are they effective? Is the backlash worth it? And, most importantly, did they show it to anyone before releasing it to the wolves?

Thus, I give you a representation of an Jewish agency that has put out a hilarious, short, concise, and what I think is effective video. Hats off to JTA for getting it right.


Bethany said...

The AJWS one annoyed me actually. Sarah Silverman saying "do Jews need the money? of course not." -

So the people of Sderot don't need money for bomb shelters and the Ethiopians who come to Israel with nothing... they don't need our help? I'd donate to a lot of Jewish organisations that actually help Jews before AJWS, especially after that comment.

Suburban Sweetheart said...

Super-insanely-annoyed by Bethany's comment because I am NOT of the camp that says Jews should only help the Jews, & I think this thought process is, in fact, detrimental to us as a people. BUT the AJWS video was in poor taste. AND, more importantly for these purposes, the JTA video is pretty damn good.

Bethany said...

I don't just donate to Jewish organisations. But I won't donate to AJWS to fufill my non-Jewish donating needs.

Do I think the majority of the money we donate should go to Jews? Yes. The rest of the world donates to help the rest of the world. Jews are the only ones looking out to help and protect other Jews.

Anonymous said...

I'm mid-blog entry on this topic as well. Wonder what it is that you find effective about the JTA's video in relation to the others?

Oy, and yes, I do it, but do we have to talk about it- and talk about it like that?

~ Maya

The New Jew: Microblog on Facebook

Mottel said...

The problem with Jewish organizations creating 'viral' content is two fold:

- Astroturfing: It's very hard to 'make' something that's supposed to go viral - too often it feels forced and false. Look at the greatest viral video's out there - they're random and real - that's what makes them work.

When it comes to marketing attempts, what's needed is something insanely original and over the top - think Old Spice guy. The problem is - you're average Jewish org won't make a new Old Spice guy, but rather make a crappy parody of the existing one. This leads us to the second problem ...

2. Schmaltz: The traditional Jewish organizations having an aging traditional donor base. They're trying to get the youth involved. Unfortunately, too often they place upon the schmaltzy antics that attract the previous generation raised on Borscht-belt greats. At best it comes off as corny - at worst it's as painful as watching your father try to rap in cliched inner-city clothes.

Chaviva Gordon-Bennett said...

@Maya I think this video is effective because it's short, to the point, hilarious without being obnoxious, excessive, or inappropriate, etc. It's just good. Plain and simple.

@Mottel I *LOVE* that term -- astroturfing. Did you coin that? Amazing. And you're absolutely right. You can't make something with the purpose of going viral. You can hope, but it shouldn't be the goal. It should just be good.

@Bethany I agree with you that donating to Jewish organizations is key. Jews tend to give more than any other group -- it's engrained in us to give tzedakah and participate in charity. Jews tend to give more to Jewish organizations, and many Jewish organizations give to world-wide causes, not just Jewish ones.

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