Meretz is hoping its new campaign ad is the cat’s meow

 
Meretz leader Nitzan Horowitz is seen gesturing at the Knesset plenum amid a vote on dissolving the Knesset, on Decemeber 2, 2020. (photo credit: KNESSET SPOKESPERSON/DANI SHEM TOV)
Meretz leader Nitzan Horowitz is seen gesturing at the Knesset plenum amid a vote on dissolving the Knesset, on Decemeber 2, 2020.
(photo credit: KNESSET SPOKESPERSON/DANI SHEM TOV)

In another attention-getting move, Meretz got more than 80 users of the Tinder dating site to change their profiles to a Meretz slogan: “Meretz, it’s not just a one-night stand.”

The silly season of the latest election campaign has officially arrived. On the heels of Itamar Ben-Gvir’s fake WhatsApp group political ad for his Otzma Yehudit Party filled with Holocaust jokes, the Meretz Party has opted for something less incendiary, which it hopes will be catnip to wavering voters: a video clip of cats at a virtual town-hall meeting via Zoom.
The kitties’ conclave is led by one Mitzi Feldman Cohen (Mitzi is a traditional Israeli cat name, like Fluffy in America), who finds his pitch interrupted by catty complaints, such as fancy felines who want to know why, when they go to get a vaccination, they are caged, while humans being vaccinated run free. Another asks that each cat receive a mouse and a keyboard.
Mitzi extols the diversity of Meretz: “Arabs and Jews, men and women, dog people and cat people” and stresses the importance of voting for Meretz “for the future of our owners.”
One participant makes an impassioned plea for the party, only to learn he was on mute the whole time. A title says, “Stop the whining. Get your claws out.” Those who stay until the end get to see guitar-playing cats sing the Meretz jingle – what there is of it.

 
“The clip has gone viral, more than we would ever have imagined,” said Omri Marcus, the creative director of Meretz’s advertising campaign and the founder of the Finger Awards, which honor comedy from around the world that has a social impact. The cat clip has been distributed widely on social media, including YouTube and Facebook, and has been shared in countless WhatsApp groups, he said.
Meretz, a left-wing party currently expected to win about four seats in the March 23 election, “doesn’t have a huge ad budget, so we’re trying to get the most out of what we have,” Marcus said.
Thinking that voters have been spending a lot of time lately at home with their cats and on Zoom, they came up with the cat Zoom meeting when asked to make an ad about a home campaign meeting. There is even an English version with a cat named Furnie Sanders asking questions.
They have tried other gimmicks as well. They added a joke merchandise shop to their Instagram account, featuring socks marked “left and center left,” as well as Meretz condoms and a mask that looks like Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with an extra-long nose, a reference to Pinocchio, whose nose grows when he lies, a scarf that “protects your voice” and an air freshener.
In another attention-getting move, Meretz got more than 80 users of the Tinder dating site to change their profiles to a Meretz slogan: “Meretz, it’s not just a one-night stand.”
The creative team is planning to shoot a 15-minute video that voters can watch after getting a vaccination while they are waiting to see if they are suffering from side effects.
“We don’t think, at this late stage, we are going to change anybody’s mind,” Marcus said. “But we want to energize our voters.”
While some polls have raised the specter of Meretz not crossing the election threshold this time, Marcus and his team are betting that using humor will ensure that the party has nine lives.