Prime and Jews

Billboards have gone up promoting a new TV show on Prime called Mad Men, based on a 1960s advertising agency.

A reader has e-mailed me about the billboards, which say:

“Advertising agency seeks clients — all business considered, even from Jews.”

Now my first reaction was that the TV show is lampooning anti Jewish bigotry, rather than targeting Jews. The Borat movie is a prime example of that. So I’m not particularly offended by the billboard.

However upon further reflection I wondered if Prime and its advertising agency would have dared to run billboards saying “all business considered, even from Maoris” or “all business considered, even from Polynesians”. I suspect not.

And as David Cohen points out, were such anti Jewish sentiments ever part of the advertising industry in the 1960s? Like David, I suspect not.

Now as I said, I understand that the adverts are meant to be in the same category as the anti Jewish sentiment done by Borat. However I would make the point that Borat could get away with it, because Sacha Baron-Cohen is in fact Jewish, and because it was so absolutely over the top no-one could take it seriously.

Where Prime is risking trouble, is by the nature of its advertising being on billboards. The average person walking down the street may not get the context. A billboard is arguably the most intrusive form of advertising, and elderly members of the Jewish community may not enjoy seeing such a billboard, as the humour will be lost on them with their real world experiences of living in countries where Jews were banned from many many types of business.

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