In its attempt to erase the lingering effects of last year’s silicon-in-the-milk scandal, even the sky is no limit for Tnuva. The company invested over $50 million to produce the first commercial in space. Arik Reichmann, general manager of Tnuva, decided he wanted to put Tnuva’s condensed milk to the ultimate test. Before being sent into space, the milk underwent microbiological examination at the Mir control station laboratory and was deemed bacteria-free.
There was unprecedented interest on the part of foreign news agencies in Israel, who engulfed both Tnuva and Gitam-BBDO, one of the two agencies handling the Tnuva account, and the one in charge of company image. The most widely covered commercial in the history of Israeli advertising was covered by ABC, NBC, BBC, Reuters, as well as Japanese and Australian television. They all came to interview the people behind the ambitious, original production.
Gitam-BBDO was in pre-production for nine months. Everything was completely under wraps, and conducted in an air of military secrecy. The ten-person production team traveled back and forth to Russia.
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In the past, there have been several attempts to shoot a commercial advertisement in space, but nothing came of those efforts, either due to the products not meeting the exacting standards of the Russian space program laboratories, or a lack of contacts.
Reactions in the sector were mixed. Many praised Tnuva’s efforts, calling it brilliant. Other believe it was a strategic error to raise the Tnuva condensed milk quality issue.
Strauss Was the Only One Not to Call
"This isn’t a giant step for space technology, but it is definitely one for marketing", CNN said, reporting on the commercial. It was only one of many praises heaped on Tnuva by the international press.
Peter Jennings of ABC News presented the report, noting "Israel had managed to achieve what no other country has".
Over the weekend, the "Milk in Space" story appeared in the "New York Times", which noted that this was the first time a commercial had appeared on its front page. NBC, Sky News and the French television station also covered the story, which appeared in "Le Figaro" as well.
Reichmann said that despite receiving calls from all over the country, praising the company for the innovative move, he was surprised that not one of his colleagues had called.
Reichmann said Tnuva would produce a corporate image ad, including the Mir commercial, for use in negotiations with international firms to bring in a strategic partner.