It’s no secret that the State of Israel is seen as problematic in the world. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs found with a focus group of Americans in 2005 who had never been to the country that they imagined an Israeli house as grey and gloomy. (In comparison, they imaged an Italian house as warm, inviting and full of good food.)
This inspired three students, Shira Gorodiski, Sapir Kleinbort Litany and Shiri Shalom, to make a branding video as part of their country-branding class for their master’s degrees in Communication and New Media at the IDC Herzliya.
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The video is a parody, both of the idea of “couchsurfing” itself and also of the pro-Israel videos that frequently make the rounds on social media. Said Shalom, “We exaggerated and made a ‘reverse-reverse’ parody video for potential tourists or couchsurfers.”
Couchsurfing is an international social network in which local hosts offer a place to stay and sleep for visiting guests. The stay is free, and hosts and guests participate in an effort to get to know a culture from up close, living with a local, rather than from a hotel room.
“We decided to use things that a lot of times tourists hear about and maybe are a bit sick of reading about Israel, like the Dead Sea and Jerusalem. The idea here is simple: In Israel, you’ll find cool, funny people who know how to laugh at themselves and be good hosts at the same time, ” said Shalom.
She explained, “Connecting to the couchsurfing community, we made a 2-minute video that we hope will contribute to the positive, lighthearted and fun perception of Israel.” Shalom added that she hoped that it would help to change the preconception of the cold, grey house to one of laughter, fun and independent humor.
The three students wanted to convey their message in a minimalist fashion that puts across fun, laughter, lightheartedness and good vibes—in light and inviting homes. “If we can change that perception, it’ll be a win for us, ” said Shalom.