Tag Archives: Jewish

Now Available At The Bay: Middle East Conflict or Visit The Bay’s PR Department For Some Great Deals

Now Available At The Bay: Middle East Conflict
Visit The Bay’s PR Department For Some Great Deals

Earlier this week, what’s been alliteratively referred to as “The Bay/Bonnie Brooks Brouhaha” erupted as Middle East politics descended upon the venerable Canadian department store.

Palestinian and Anti-Israel organizations and supporters flooded the Internet and The Bay’s head offices, demanding a popular Israeli beauty product line be pulled from store shelves. Their argument:

Ahava’s products are manufactured in the illegal settlement of Mitzpe Shalem in the Occupied Palestinian West Bank. Ahava is co-owned by two illegal settlements, Mitzpe Shalem and Kahlia, which are subsidized by the company’s profits. Ahava cosmetics are labeled ‘Products of Israel’ when in fact they are made in the West Bank.

At the same time, Israeli and Pro-Jewish organizations and supporters flooded the Internet and The Bay’s head offices, demanding the popular Ahava products be kept in stock, and with a call-to-action to buy up all of The Bay’s Ahava products, thanking them for carrying the line. Many supporters did just that, while many others expressed anger toward The Bay, vowing to never shop there again.

A close acquaintance (and fellow blogger at inctruth.blogspot.com) sent such a letter to Bonnie Brooks, CEO of The Bay. Below is his text, reprinted with his permission:

Mrs. Brooks,
I am totally shocked by the actions of your organisation in complying with the wishes of an Anti-Israel organisation.
My life has been dedicated to fighting racism and bigotry. This case is an example of the worst form of anti-semitsm making its rounds in the so-called civilized world. Only 70 years ago we witnessed a holocaust that defies words. Today the State of Israel is the only buffer the Jewish People have against a repeat of this inhuman catastrophe.
I respectfully request that you reconsider your decision to withdraw Ahava products from your shelves. Until this matter is cleared up, it is my intention to take my business elsewhere. When we vowed “Never Again” we meant every word.

It wasn’t long before he received a reply from Ms. Brooks herself, also reprinted below with permission:

The brand in question, Ahava, has been discontinued globally by the brand owner, not by The Bay. One of our largest shareholders of the Hudson’s Bay Trading Company is one of North America’s most significant Israel supporters, and our Governor along with our Chief Beauty Merchant responsible for this product range, are both Jewish. We do not discontinue products due to pressure from any source other than our own decision based on either sales performance or product quality. We are very concerned that we have received hundreds of emails and negative customer reaction inside our stores, all due to the spreading of incorrect information, which has upset our many customers, employees, their families and the fashion industry who are supportive of Israel. We would appreciate the parties involved in the protest, being set straight as soon as possible.

Thank you.
Bonnie Brooks
Chief Adventurer
(aka President and CEO)The Bay,
Hudson’s Bay Company. 

There are some first-rate PR lessons to be learned here:

  • Don’t Ignore Your Clients: Not only did Harry hear back from The Bay, but he heard directly from Ms. Brooks, their CEO. Taking the time to reply to him (and presumably, dozens more people) lends credibility to Ms. Brooks and The Bay, as well as their explanation for the situation at hand. How you engage your clients is the genesis of your company’s PR – remember that, in no uncertain terms, your organization owes its existence to your clients.
  • Be Proactive! There’s an argument to be made that had The Bay disseminated the information on why Ahava had been pulled from store shelves into the proper channels, it could have avoided much negative online and media buzz. While this appears not to have been done (and please correct me if I’m wrong), they are doing the right thing by speaking out now and having their message delivered from the top. No one can see into the future, but we’re smart enough to make some educated guesses. Anticipate all possible scenarios and plan accordingly.
  • Know Your Competition: In no way am I advocating being sleazy or sneaky in PR practices. However, it occurred to me that perhaps some Palestinian and Anti-Israeli organizations and supporters were aware of the Ahava’s plans to pull its products, and used the opportunity to create a stir by provocatively appealing to people’s political and religious views on the Middle-East. If that’s the case, I cannot condone that sort of behaviour. However, it is an example of knowing your competition, and knowing what your organization can do to position itself relative to them. Always keep an eye on other in your industry… You should know what they’re up to, and whether or not you can actually be of help to one another.

Add your rational and reasonable thoughts and opinions below, and let me know what you think!


Too Much of Anything Is Bad. Too Much Good Scotch Is Barely Enough.

Three weeks. It’s been three weeks since I was last home. A lot happens to a man in three weeks. His whole life can change in three weeks. Mine did.


Three weeks ago, discreetly invited by Matchstick for a private scotch-tasting event, I strode into One Hazelton, a trendy restaurant in Toronto’s Yorkville district. The staff greeted me by name and took my coat, not an uncommon occurrence. After a quick glass of brandy with the manager – and a lively, though abbreviated, discussion on the merits of a program proactively providing guests with a choice of “dates” for the evening – I was ushered into a private room toward the back. Lined with tables, the room was buzzing with activity, and I found myself sitting among the most influential members of the city’s online community. A little out of place, I felt like Number 6 in the Village. But with a scotch in hand, and several more on the table before me, I was prepared for a hard night’s work.

Tasting Again

Within an hour, I had devoured no less than six glasses of fine Macallan scotch… 10-year old Macallan, 12-year old, 15-year old, 21-year old. I couldn’t stop myself. A presentation on the Macallan brand and its history described in great detail its methods of barreling and aging. Our affable host then held up a small vial of clear liquid, explaining it was Macallan scotch aged only one day. I never imagined such imbibitions existed.

Fuelled by scotch, alcohol raging through my veins, I leapt to my feet and bolted toward the front of the room. Racing toward our host, I zeroed in on the panic in his ever-widening eyes. Swooping in, I grabbed the small vial of day-old scotch, opened it and drank it down, all in one quick motion.

Indescribable. It’s the only way to describe the feeling. It was the fix I’d been searching for my entire life. Standing there, all eyes affixed on me with looks of fear and contempt sweeping across the sea of faces like a tidal wave, I felt invincible. Unleashing an other-worldly roar, my voice sounded like nothing I’d ever heard in the natural universe. Men and women around me began to sob, quivering with fear as I felt the scotch coursing through my body.


I quickly grabbed the bottle of 21-year old Macallan scotch from our host’s paralyzed arms, as he stood transfixed by what I’d become. Within 20 seconds, I had gulped down two-thirds of the bottle, and shattered it on the table before me. Holding half the broken bottle, dripping with sweet, sweet scotch, I saw myself start swinging wildly. People climbed over one another to get out of my way, crying and screaming madly as they dove for cover. Men were even throwing women in my way in order to save themselves. Cowards. Before long, I found myself outside. Snarling and frothing at the mouth, I had managed to get away with several bottles of each Macallan scotch before I escaped the claustrophobia of that crowd, the negative energy affecting my scotch-fuelled spree of sin.

Macallan Years

The next few weeks, I traveled across the globe in a scotch-induced stupor. Using my considerable resources and delusional judgment, I destroyed anything in my path. While in Morocco, half a bottle of 12-year old scotch preceded the severe beating I administered to a camel and its owner after it spit in the vicinity of my Nike dunks. After a stern warning to the camel’s owner, he mumbled some anti-Semitic remarks under his breath. I used the remaining half-bottle of booze to light the fire to heat the branding iron I needed to brand his forehead with a Star of David. Then I kicked his ass. And that of his camel.

Climbing the mountains of Nepal, I was enlightened after sharing two bottles of 18-year old Macallan scotch with a clan of Buddhist monks. Having spent the previous six years in complete silence, we communicated through an intricate series of hand-gestures, eye-movements and breathing patterns. They considered me a deity, and I shared with them the warmth and comfort of Macallan scotch. In return, they taught me karmic self-control, and the deadly ancient martial arts. I hadn’t the heart to tell them I was already well-versed in both.

Sailing the Black Sea, I boarded a stolen ship crawling with Somali pirates. After a few bottles of Macallan 15-year old scotch, and a violent but rousing game of Backgammon, I surprised my hosts by physically overpowering the entire crew, one by one. After returning the ship to its rightful owners, I stole a helicopter from a Greek military base and, before long, touched down in Haiti.


Having saved the best for last, I quickly consumed half my remaining stash upon landing – three bottles of 21-year old Macallan. My killing power increased exponentially, I staged a one-man bloody coup and seized control of the island within a day. Once my buzz faded, I grew weary of the responsibilities associated with running a brutal dictatorship and decided to return home.

I built a crude rocket of only monkey bones, coconut shells and palm fronds. Using just one ounce of 21-year old Macallan scotch, I was able to fuel my vessel across the horizon and back to Toronto. With only two bottles remaining, I decided to sacrifice them for the good of this blog posting, and finished them both before sitting down to recount my adventures.

Three weeks. That’s all it took for Macallan scotch to change my life. Thank you Macallan. (and thank you Mark Twain)Ice Ball Glass

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