Summer Color Wars

by Brian on June 30, 2005

in In the News


“We’ve got a problem, boss.”

“What is it, my esteemed chief marketing guy?”

“It’s with our brand.”

brand? What could be wrong with that? It’s incredibly simple,
ultimately recognizable and licensed to companies around the world.”

“It’s been expropriated.”

“By who?”

“The Israelis.”

“That doesn’t sound like a problem…more visibility for us.”

you don’t get it. It’s been adopted as the national identity for a
particular group of Israelis…those opposing the country’s upcoming disengagement-from-Gaza plan.”

“We’re not political. We’re just a cell phone operator.”

“I know that and you know that, but now anything Orange is being associated with anti-disengagement.”

“Can they do that? We’ve got a copyright on orange, don’t we?”

“I don’t think you can copyright a color, sir.”

“Tell me…what’s going on. Exactly.”

“Well, you can’t walk more than half a block without running into something orange.


An orange ribbon tied around a car antenna or on a kid’s backpack. An orange headband on a little girl. There are orange flags and orange baseball caps.”

“Don’t go overboard here. Are you telling me that all these people are making a political statement?”

“It’s hard to tell, really. Some people might just like the color orange.”

“Right. I saw a man the other day wearing an orange t-shirt. He didn’t look like he was advertising an agenda.”

“But at the same time, there are stores now that have draped their windows in orange to pick up extra business. And I read an article
about a woman who says she deliberately makes sure to wear something
orange in her clothes every day. It’s getting so you don’t know if the
security guard wearing an orange vest or that teenager bouncing an
orange basketball is intentional or what. And don’t even get me started
with the orange wristbands.”

“Like the yellow Lance Armstrong ones…that sounds nice…no, no, this is a public relations disaster!”

“It gets even worse. Now the Israeli political party Balad is threatening to sue the anti-Gaza protesters.”

“Whatever for?”

claim that Balad has been using the color orange since 1999 in its
election campaigns and now their ‘freedom of speech and assembly’ has
been limited.”

“Good grief…is there an alternative color to all this orange?”

“Yes, there’s blue.”

“Blue, that’s good. Blue and white – the colors of the Israeli flag. Patriotic and neutral.”

“Unfortunately not. Blue has become the group identity of anyone in favor of the disengagement plan. There are blue ribbons on all the cars and backpacks that don’t have orange ones.”

“Anything else about blue I should know about?”

“Yes. It’s also the color of our biggest competitor – Pelephone.”

“Did they see this coming? Where are they getting their information? Is this another example of that Trojan horse spyware scandal?”

“It looks like a coincidence, sir.”

“Well, has anyone started to boycott our phone service?”

“No, that’s the thing. Right now, in Israel’s summer color wars, orange is the big winner.”

“We’re winning?”

“Well, the color is. There are twice as many orange ribbons and stickers and flags and headbands
as blue ones. The blue ribbon people said it was because their
manufacturer couldn’t produce ribbons fast enough at the price they
wanted. But that sounds kind of like a lame excuse if you ask me.”

“So maybe we can turn this to our advantage! Sign up the anti-Gaza pullout supporters to only use our phone service.”

“Hmmm…that could work. And when the demonstrators block the highways with nails and oil like they did this week, they could throw a few of our Orange phones into the mix as well…”

“Don’t you think that’s being just a tad cynical?”

“…we just need to make sure that the Orange warranty doesn’t cover acts of civil disobedience…so we’re not liable.”

“Come on, not everyone in orange is organizing mayhem on the streets. You’re giving a black eye to their cause.”

“Don’t you mean an orange one?”

“I think we need a different plan.”

“I’m listening…”

need to disengage entirely…from this whole color war. There’s nothing
holy about orange. We’re just going to have to rebrand ourselves.”

“What did you have in mind?”

“Green is nice.”

“No, that’s taken by the environmentalists. And also the right-wing Women in Green.”

“Both of them? How about red?”

“Some rabbis say only prostitutes wear that color. We’d be limiting our market.”


“Jerusalem Post columnist Saul Singer already suggested that as a blending between orange and blue.”

“Orange and blue don’t make purple…oh, never mind, we’ll do our own mix then – a rainbow.”

“Then we’d be banned from Jerusalem…you heard about the whole business with the mayor and the parade, didn’t you…”

“Fine, fine! Then no color at all. Black.”

“That’s the ultra-orthodox.”

“Is there any color in this crazy country that’s not political?”

“Gray hasn’t been used by anyone.”

“Kind of dull isn’t it?”

“In a summer of color wars, dull might be just what we need.”



This article has now been translated into Hebrew by a dedicated reader who goes by the blog name Deshe! Check it out here.


And if you’d like to listen to this article, the podcast is now online. Download now or subscribe through ITunes! Search for “This Normal Life.”

Haaretz had a good piece on orange as a fashion statement.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Anonymous July 13, 2005 at 2:24 pm

Congratulations, Brian! Best of luck.

2 Anonymous July 25, 2005 at 4:33 pm

Meira writes:

I got a link to your blog thru Honest Reporting focussing on media manipulation (again).
I want to say I enjoyed your above piece, and by the way, did you see the caricature by Daniella in Haaretz a week or so ago, where the midwife is asking the newly delivered couple if they have a preference while offering a blue or orange identity tag for their newborn?

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