Was it a message to the BDS crowd – or a “branded marketing comedy” segment? Either way, Israeli company Sabra Hummus got a huge brand boost when Stephen Colbert, the new host of The Late Show on CBS television in the US, plugged hummus made by Sabra on his first program.
In a comedy bit involving a “cursed amulet” – to which he attributed his getting the high-profile and much-sought after job – Colbert said that he had been “commanded” to inform his audience of “the delicious taste of tonight's sponsor Sabra Red Pepper hummus made from simple fresh ingredients that bring people together one bite at a time.” He even gave a plug to Sabra's advertising tag line, “scoop out the fun.”
According to Amobee Brand Intelligence – itself an Israeli company – the plug had an immediate effect on social media: there were 1,634 tweets about “hummus” and 351 tweets about “Sabra” during the ninety minutes the show ran.
Sabra itself tipped its social media hat to Colbert, saying on Twitter that “his Reptilian Majesty,” controller of the “magic amulet,” was “pleased.”
Sabra has been an occasional target of the boycott movement against Israel; in 2014, students at the University of Ottawa launched a campaign to have Sabra hummus banned from campus because of its alleged connection with “Israel apartheid,” and on Twitter, BDS activists turned out in droves to advocated boycotting the brand because of its association with Israel.
But just as many supporters of Israel responded, saying that they would make sure to buy Sabra hummus – and, in particular, the Red Pepper hummus, Colbert's “favorite.”