Photo: Ron Kedmi
Bar Refaeli
Photo: Ron Kedmi
Bar Refaeli: Supermodel in every way
Since Leonardo DiCaprio entered her life, Bar Refaeli's career has taken off – more international magazine photo shoots and countless mentions in the gossip columns. But is this overexposure that will damage her in long run?
Has anyone managed not to come across Bar Refaeli recently? Not that she was completely anonymous before Leonardo DiCaprio, but since she started dating the Hollywood star a few months ago, the pictures of the model are plastered all over the newspapers both in Israel and abroad.


Many newspapers publish news items about stars' significant others, best served up with gossip and juicy photos. Take, for instance, British newspaper The Sun which published pictures of Refaeli in a bathing suit during a photo shoot for a fashion magazine. The prestigious French fashion magazine Elle published pictures of Refaeli on the front page.


The surrounding of the Israeli model, it turns out, is good for her and contributes to the takeoff of her career.

Bar Refaeli (Photo: Eyal Nevo)


In the last year, she has starred in leading add campaigns, including campaigns for Irit fashion, Italian jewelry designer Marco Bicego whose jewelry is sold in Israel at Miller, Dio bathing suits, in the sought-after Victoria's Secret catalogue, in the Orange cellular adds, and now in a campaign for Samsung's new model of cellular phones. Recently, she posed for the international magazine Sports Illustrated.


In the past, Refaeli has led campaigns for Strauss's Millki and Pilpel bathing suits. A recent survey performed revealed that Refaeli is one of the people Israelis would like to see on their money. This is understandable.


So Refaeli can't yet be on Israeli money, but she can appear in many other places. Have you received a catalogue? She's there. Have you opened a newspaper? She's there. Have you driven on the Ayalon Highway? She's there, on a massive billboard. If you have missed her, turn on the television. Starting this week, she will be on during commercial breaks.


Even Tourism Minister Isaac Herzog thinks Bar Refaeli can provide a solution to the dwindling number of tourists coming to Israel after the war in Lebanon. So he recruited her to work for the Tourism Ministry in order to present Israel to the world and to market the country as a leading tourist destination.


Refaeli receives hundreds of thousands of dollars for each campaign (except for the Tourism Ministry campaign, which she is donating free-of-charge), and the earnings are entirely hers. And rightfully so, many will say. She is beautiful, photogenic, she has a winsome smile, and the cameras like her.


For the Samsung campaign, she is receiving NIS 500,000 (USD 119,000). From Irit she is getting USD 400,000 for the next two years, and she received USD 120,000 from Dio. This is not to mention revenue from her international campaigns.


'Fits me well'

However, is there no boundary to the number of brands one she can attach herself to? Does the fact that she isn't loyal to one brand damage the companies she represents?


"Overexposure and being identified with many brands isn't good for anyone, not for the celeb, and not for the brand," asserts Yigal Baron, director-general of the advertising union.


"When the brands the celeb represents come from different content areas, like for instance, a telephone, a car, and clothing, that is somehow tolerable from a professional perspective. But when there are brands from identical content areas, this confuses the consumer and advertisements get jumbled in his head."


Even for a celebrity overexposure doesn't present an advantage because it is likely to exhaust himself to quickly.


"Overexposure 'burns' the celeb quickly," explains Baron, "It is not some endless supply of exposure. In the end, it runs out and therefore, I think that in the case of Bar Refaeli someone is managing things incorrectly. And it's too bad. I identify mainly with Irit fashion, the first campaign she did in the last period (and no one remembers Milki or Pilpel). It could be that such exposure benefits mainly the first brand she advertised because she is the most identified with them."


Samsung's marketing manager Avi Zeitan thinks that Bar Refaeli "fits" him well in their campaign for Samsungs' superthin line of phones.


"We took her in particular because she has been strong in the headlines in the past three months. Samsung has two values: design and internationality. Refaeli projects internationality because she is the girlfriend of Leonardo DiCaprio and does ads abroad. On the other hand, she lives in Israel and is identified with Israeliness."


"In this instance, overexposure serves Samsung superbly. Refaeli will be completely identified with out telephones in a short period of time, and soon she will be sprawl across billboards, on the Internet, on television. She will also be seen in action with our phones.


"Even the fact that she does campaigns for Irit serves our interests. If she would do a campaign for a contractual company, perhaps it wouldn't fit. But Irit is fashion and that completes the values of our brand. We also present our phones as a fashion product," stated Zeitan.


Life is short and Refaeli apparently knows that you need to take advantage of what you have, when you have it. "That is the tragedy of the celebrity – that his career is based on looks, and not on personality," said Baron.


"He has more or less 15 years to squeeze the issue, and therefore you need to manage this business correctly. There are those who try to squeeze the lemon to the very end, and ultimately, the brands look like a squeezed lemon."


Refaeli, in any case, still looks fresh.


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