In the age when millions of customers purchase and receive electronics, clothing, furniture and groceries (Kosher and not) within hours from Amazon, the kosher food industry will not be immune to the repercussions of Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods. In fact, given Whole Food’s top-tier position in the organic, specialty foods market, a model that can easily shift to regional kosher products quicker than its competitors, the shift in kosher shopping may be closer than ever.
Running a small business or non-profit is a tough these days. The dismal economy created a lack of willingness to spend or donate. Etsy & eBay are creating online “local shops” that replace brick & mortar stores. Mobile apps are creating an easy way to shop at big box retailers over local retailers. Kickstarter & Causes are taking dollars away from local non-profits. Even Google & Amazon are testing same-day delivery of merchandise & fresh food. How do these businesses create such innovative services that attract thousands of interested customers?
It seems there’s something Kosher for everyone at the Super Bowl. Or shall we say… for the halftime show. If Bruno Mars and Red Hot Chili Peppers aren’t enough to glue your eyes and ears to the screen, the Nachum Segal Network will be hosting a “Kosher Halftime Show”. For those 20 minutes that you aren’t watching the game, Lenny Solomon & friends will be performing Jewish music and creating a “family oriented vibe” during halftime.
One of the biggest campaigns to date for an Israeli company, SodaStream’s campaign has already gotten a 700% boost in brand awareness. Could be the tasty carbonated product or could be the power of Scarlett Johansson. Either way, the Jewish audience has more than one reason to watch the Super Bowl next weekend!
Check out a Behind the Scenes video of the SodaStream commercial here:
Henry Isaacs Marketing | Isaac Hyman, Founder
When most people think of the Israel tech industry, they tend to envision modern, new-age cerebral types from Tel Aviv and Haifa. Which is why media tends to notice when an innovative Ultra-Orthodox Jewish tech startup & mobile app developer like Jew IQ comes along.
It’s 2014. And that means it’s time to re-evaluate your marketing & communications plan. Your focused on ensuring your business or non-profit is at the forefront of people’s minds in print, digital & social media channels. So here’s 7 marketing & communication trends relevant to the Jewish community you should be aware for 2014.
Ever pass by the bread aisle and have the Wonder Bread logo & colors catch your eye, only to be turned back by the questionable Kosher certification of the Triangle K? You need not put the loaf down anymore.
Wonder Bread has gained OU Kosher certification in the New York market, according to The Jewish Week of New York’s Food & Wine website. Apparently, after Hostess Brands went bankrupt and sold off their reputable brands, such as Twinkies & Dolly Madison (Twinkies recently made a reappearance on store shelves though not with any Kosher certifications), the Wonder Bread went to Flower Foods, which, according to the OU, is a “very old & important OU account” and has a strong line of Kosher-certified products such as Nature’s Own and Home Pride breads. The result is that Jewish mothers & families can now try the bread they’ve desired to try ever since they were kids!
Will Kosher customers respond to the new Wonder Bread option, though? Depends on which Jewish consumers Flower Foods will try to target. In the mainstream New York Jewish marketplace, there are already dozens of Kosher breads available, both national (such as Home Pride) and Jewish start-up brands (such as Mehadrin Bakery) as well as the store generic brands (such as Shoprite & Fairway Market brands), so the marketplace is already well stocked. However, Jewish consumers very much enjoy the novelty of trying new Kosher iconic brands (remember the Kosher consumer’s craze & fall over Subway, the desire for Oreo’s & the long agonizing wait for Skittles?) so there will be a nice surge in sales at the very beginning, especially now that the Jewish holidays are over and school is in full swing for the next two months until Hanukkah.
The Orthodox market has generally opted to stick with brands that are baked by Jewish bakeries because of “pas akum” issues (pas akum, bread baked by non-Jews, could pose some problems according to Jewish law: see the rundown of “Pas Yisrael” laws & products here) but the OU brand is the king of Kosher certifications for the Orthodox Jewish consumer (OU does stand for Orthodox Union after all). With OU certification, Wonder Bread has definitely secured the highest Kosher certification covering all Jewish consumer markets but it remains to be seen if it’s too late in the game to get Kosher families to switch their bread. And, occasionally, even Jewish bakeries slip up in their high Kosher standards (see our article on Zomick’s).
The main marketing & PR goal for Wonder Bread will be trying to get Jewish customers to “give a second look” at Wonder Bread and try it out. Many Jewish shoppers have become used to simply bypassing the red, yellow, and blue bubbles logo on the bread shelf in favor of other brands so getting those same customers to take another look and discover the OU logo is key to getting new Jewish customers (Hebrew National had the same Kosher certification issues although meat products require a much more stringent Kosher certification approach). Apparently, Wonder Bread must taste extremely delicious so keeping customers shouldn’t be a problem…. they just have to get over the habit of not putting it in the basket! The Jewish customer is a loyal one and, having large families, price conscious about their groceries, so a marketing campaign that incorporates a coupon or discount to try out Wonder Bread would be a smart move.
Although it’s a crowded playing field, we definitely welcome Wonder Bread to the Kosher marketplace! May your stay be like Oreo and not like Subway!
Henry Isaacs Marketing | Isaac Hyman, Founder
As you saw in our previous post for the New York mayoral election and courting Jewish votes, the Jewish community may be small in numbers but don’t disregard their influence. Looking to take over the late Frank Lautenberg, Cory Booker, a popular name in Jewish circles, has become a strong candidate for the New Jersey Senate seat. Who does he turn to for the votes? The Jewish community. As his go to source for all-things-Jewish, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach is the type of Rabbi that is political, closely tied to the modern Jewish community, and nationally recognized for his popular (and controversial) opinions on sex, religion, and lifestyle. Sounds like a perfect candidate to take Cory Booker to the next level.
Booker Taps Ties to Jewish Community in Senate Race
Newark Mayor’ Draws on Longtime Connections in Bid for Lautenberg Seat
He regularly reads verses from the Torah. He once addressed 700 congregants at a friend’s bar mitzvah. In 2011, he took his parents to Israel for a “trip of a lifetime.” And he is a staple at seder meals during Passover.
He is Cory Booker, the African-American, Christian mayor of Newark.
The U.S. Senate candidate has immersed himself in Jewish culture and serious Judaic study for two decades, ever since he had an accidental meeting with an ultraorthodox Chabad-Lubavitch rabbi. And now, Mr. Booker has tapped those Jewish connections in his campaign to fill the seat of the late U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg, who was Jewish and helped raise hundreds of millions of dollars for Jewish causes—and with a cancer-research center in Jerusalem bearing his name.
Mr. Booker, 44 years old, has received tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from prominent New Jersey Jewish leaders, and nearly $120,000 from the pro-Israel NORPAC political-action committee since January, campaign filings show.
Many Jews familiar with Mr. Booker are impressed with his knowledge of their faith.
“He could put many of us to shame,” said Lori Klinghoffer, a New Jersey Jewish philanthropist and president of the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ.
The three other Democrats running in the Aug. 13 primary also count ties to the Jewish community. Most notably, the widow and children of Mr. Lautenberg—who sponsored a 1989 amendment that helped hundreds of thousands of Jews in Soviet countries flee persecution to the U.S.—have endorsed Democratic Rep. Frank Pallone.
Peter J. Smith for The Wall Street Journal | Rabbi Shmuley Boteach
The Lautenberg family members are vocal critics of Mr. Booker’s candidacy—including his outreach to Jews.
“With Cory Booker, he’s a very good speaker and a very good salesman,” said Josh Lautenberg, the late senator’s son. “I don’t feel like Cory Booker is authentic in what he’s selling.”
A spokesman for the Booker campaign—who declined to address Mr. Lautenberg’s son’s claims—said the candidate’s Jewish studies have enriched his Christian faith and “reinforced his belief that there is much more that connects us than divides us.”
Jewish elders in New Jersey believe Mr. Booker is sincere.
“I have had ample opportunity to gauge the depth of his Jewish knowledge, and it is genuine,” said Rabbi Clifford Kulwin, who leads the 3,000-member Temple B’nai Abraham in Livingston, N.J. He has known Mr. Booker for years.
Newark was once home to a large Jewish population, with tens of thousands living there in the early 20th century. But Newark’s Jewish population dwindled significantly after the city’s 1967 riots.
Throughout New Jersey, roughly 397,400 people, or 6% of the population, identify as Jewish, tied with New York state for the highest percentage in the country, according to a 2007 study by the Pew Forum. New Jersey is home to growing Orthodox communities in Teaneck, Passaic, Lakewood and Linden, along with Reform Jews throughout the northern and central parts of the state.
It is a significant section of voters and donors—especially in a race that will likely see low voter turnout—that Mr. Booker’s three Democratic rivals aren’t discounting.
State Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver, one of the Democratic candidates, grew up as one of the few African-Americans living in Newark’s Weequahic neighborhood, a South Ward section that was predominantly Jewish.
“I definitely have excellent relationships with the Jewish community,” she said.
All the Democrats in the race have reached out to Jewish groups, said Ben Dworkin, director of the Rebovich Institute for New Jersey Politics at Rider University. Mr. Pallone and Rep. Rush Holt, another candidate, have strong records on Israel, and Ms. Oliver is well-known, he said.
Mr. Booker’s Jewish knowledge has proved particularly intriguing, Mr. Dworkin said.
Mr. Booker was raised in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, and now belongs to Metropolitan Baptist Church in Newark.
Mr. Booker stumbled into his Jewish studies when he was at Oxford, when he attended a 1992 Torah celebration thrown by the L’Chaim Society student organization.
He began studying Judaism with the group’s Hasidic rabbi, Shmuley Boteach, and Mr. Booker later became the organization’s president at Oxford.
They continued their Jewish studies together after both men moved to New Jersey.
“We’ve studied thousands of hours together,” said Rabbi Boteach, an Englewood resident who said he advised Michael Jackson on spirituality and is the author of unconventional books such as “Kosher Sex.”
As mayor, Mr. Booker keeps a Torah on his desk, among other religious books. He can read some Hebrew, but isn’t conversant. He will often use Jewish parables when talking about political struggles.
“At the end of the day, I am a man who loves faith,” said Mr. Booker, during a speech before Mercer County Democrats last year, where he discussed bringing his parents to Israel in 2011.
Mr. Booker has spoken to dozens of Jewish groups, including the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a strong pro-Israel lobbying group.
NORPAC has hosted several fundraisers for his campaign—and more may be on the way, said Rabbi Menachem Genack, NORPAC founder and chief executive of the Orthodox Union’s Kosher Division.
NORPAC also has supported Mr. Pallone with $10,000 in contributions this year, according to campaign filings.
But Mr. Booker is the candidate that many Jewish voters have embraced, said Richard Gordon, an attorney from New Jersey and past president of the American Jewish Congress.
“Cory Booker is someone we have watched grow up,” Mr. Gordon said. “There was a tremendous amount of pent up excitement about what his future was going to be.”
Write to Heather Haddon at email@example.com
A version of this article appeared July 29, 2013, on page A15 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: Booker Taps Jewish Ties In Senate Race.
Henry Isaacs Marketing | Isaac Hyman, Founder