No Touch!

Read an interesting piece on the NYTimes today. It was about the guy who invented the slogan “If you see something, say something”, seen on many NY subways in the past few years. The story was written in connection with the car-bomb found in Times Square recently, and the alert street vendors who called the police when they suspected something fishy.

“The phrase was coined by Mr. Kay for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, one of his company’s clients. The day after Sept. 11, 2001, Mr. Kay sat in his office on Fifth Avenue and wrote the slogan on one of the 3-by-5-inch index cards he carries around to jot down ideas. The company had already done advertising work for the authority, but Mr. Kay created “If You See Something, Say Something” before transit officials even asked. He said he wanted to help prevent another disaster and to do something positive in the aftermath of the attacks…

It has since become a global phenomenon — the homeland security equivalent of the “Just Do It” Nike advertisement — and has appeared in public transportation systems in Oregon, Texas, Florida, Australia and Canada, among others. Locally, the phrase captured, with six simple words and one comma, the security consciousness and dread of the times, the “I ♥ NY” of post-9/11 New York City.”

Little did the Times know, that Israel has had ads in papers and TV like this for decades already. I grew up with these commercials, one of them so famous that not only everyone in Israel knows the catch-phrase, but there have been numerous spoofs of it as well.

The following one from the 80’s is one of the more well-known ones, with the aforementioned phrase in the last scene, where two young kids say: “You know , and you know – never touch a suspicious object, and never go near one!”

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0iiIP5XE8Oo

And here’s one of those spoofs…

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C9Ah1L7kfNk

Here’s another one that must be from the early 80’s or late 70’s – yup, we were still in black and white back then:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u36R73pI6X8

It’s interesting that the Israeli ads seem more aimed at educating kids, instructing them not to touch or not to go near. It seems it was pretty obvious there wasn’t a need to tell adults to call the police. The American ads urge to speak up, spread the word, to quickly call the cops.

But mainly, it’s just kind of sad that New Yorkers have to live in fear now, too. Oh well…

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