Israeli dairy had Mir crew thinking in a milky way

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At first glance, it's almost impossible to come up with any connection between the Russian Mir space station and Israeli milk. But on Aug. 22, when the world's first screening of a commercial filmed in space aired on Israel's Channel 2, the connection become clear.


After months of preparation, Gitam/ BBDO, Israel's largest ad agency, filmed the commercial--for Tnuva milk--starring Mir crew commander Vasily Tsibliyev, who drank the milk, on location ... in space.

The spot tells the story of a Russian cosmonaut who, while in space, yearns for the taste of fresh milk and, after extensive testing, the Mir ground crew sends a container of the Tnuva "long-life" milk to the space station by rocket.

Isaac Lidor, president of Tnuva Milk & Dairy, said the spot shows the milk's high standard of quality, as the product had to go through the rigorous tests all food products go through before being sent into space. In order to pass these tests, the milk had to be completely free of bacteria.

Gitam/BBDO and Yom Tov Productions took nine months to plan the 90-second commercial, which reportedly cost $450,000.

The scene in the space station with Mr. Tsibliyev drinking the milk was filmed by flight engineer Alexander Lazutkin with a camcorder, while he received instructions from the commercial's directors--the first time a film director from Earth has directed cosmonauts via two-way satellite communication in real time.


Another part of the commercial was filmed at the Mir Control Station, and the station laboratory, and used 150 Russian extras as well as featuring Valeri Poliakov, a former cosmonaut.

Tnuva is Israel's largest food marketer with 1996 sales of $1.7 billion. Its dairy division has a 70% share of the Israeli market.

Copyright August 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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