Israeli made Tribe Hummus’ most recent ad campaign is quite brilliant and may be helping it to overcome anti Israel boycott attempts.
Apparently hummus has become a polarizing product as some see it as a specifically Arab delicacy that Jews should not be making any claims to just because it is a popular food in Israel.
What next, falafel? How about bagels? Are those O.K. for Jews to like?
Tribe is based in Boston and was bought out by Israel’s Osem foods in 2008. Osem is in turned controlled by Nestle.
The company, which only markets hummus and no other Middle Eastern style spreads like Tahini, is promoting its product as something fitting for people who do not want to share. One such ad declares, “If you like to share buy salsa.” The implication is clear: Tribe’s hummus is so good you will not want to share any of it.
Another ad says, “If you don’t have enough for everyone that’s too bad for everyone.”
Unfortunately for the company, its posters have been defaced on the New York City subways with stickers that simply say “Apartheid.” Some have had “Do not buy” written in marker above the brand name and “Israeli product” written underneath it.
The sub heading under the brand name on all of Tribe’s posters states: “You are either a member or you’re not.” This is obviously meant to be sort of an inside joke referencing the fact that Jews sometimes refer to themselves as members of the Tribe, but with the second meaning that if you buy Tribe Hummus then you will become part of an exclusive group.
Ellis Verdi, president of DeVito/Verdi, the firm that created the ads, told New York Magazine, “Does it say that it’s an Israeli company? I think it’s clever because it’s including the name of the product. It’s the hardest thing to do in advertising.”
“I’m just trying to understand the political subtext. There’s just so many uses of tribe — I’ve heard rappers use it. It’s much more current parlance, ” he added.
The campaigns against Tribe are so strong right now that Google searches for it are throwing out all sorts of links to stories and information about the attempts to boycott the brand.
Tribe currently only has a 7% share of the American market lagging far behind fellow Israeli brand Sabra which has a 63% share.