Channel 2 began accepting an average of 6 minutes of commercials an hour starting Nov. 4, 1993. The ensuing advertising has been credited with giving some real spark to product sales.
Agencies haven't necessarily enjoyed a windfall of increased billings; it's the advertisers that have been the big winners.
Sales of Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co.'s Orbit sugar-free gum jumped by about 1,000%, capturing nearly half of the country's sugar-free gum segment, said Moshe Goldberg-Kidon, VP at Gitam Image Systems.
Its commercial-created by Abbott Mead Vickers/ BBDO, London, but placed by Gitam-features people eating; a voice-over explains how plaque buildup can be reduced by chewing Orbit gum.
A concerned L'Oreal sent emissaries from Paris to make sure its products weren't suddenly being shipped off to Third World countries from Israel, when orders for Elseve shampoo and conditioner jumped more than 14-fold to 100,000 bottles a year.
The Elseve commercial, dubbed in Hebrew, is an adaptation of a European 30-second spot by McCann-Erickson Worldwide, Paris, showing a woman with shiny hair as a result of using the shampoo. Gitam is the local agency.
While most marketers that advertise allocated about 30% of their ad budgets to TV, the food industry was more enthusiastic.
Osem, the nation's leading food marketer, spent more than half its estimated $10 million ad budget on TV.
Elite, the No. 2 food marketer, put 40% of its budget into TV. Following increases of up to 50% in sales of products advertised on TV, "We're looking to increase our budget to 50% to 70% next year," said David Federman, chairman of Elite.
The marketer works with several Tel Aviv agencies, including Shamluk Raban, Tamir Cohen, Geller Nessis and Kesher Barel.
As a result of the activity, TV time-going for as much as $10,000 per :30-is sold out for months in advance.
What's not clear is exactly where the money is coming from since most marketers are shifting funds among various media instead of increasing ad budgets, though industry executives say cinema has been badly hurt.
About 20% of the $400 million spent so far on advertising in 1994 has gone to TV, estimated Uzi Peled, managing director at Tel Ad, one of the three licensed Channel 2 operators.
Mr. Peled anticipates a 15% spending increase in 1995.