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This year, the Israel Advertisers Association will again choose a Marketing Man/Woman of the Year; but unlike in previous years, the 2003 list of 12 nominees includes 7 CEOs rather than vice-presidents or marketing managers. Thus, for example, December's marketing man of the month was Giora Offer, the CEO of Israel Discount Bank, and not his marketing vice-president. Offer is joined by Yossi Warshavsky, CEO of the Schocken chain, and Avi Katz, CEO of the Kfar Hasha'ashuim toy store chain.

The phenomenon could indicate several things: Perhaps during a recession, CEOs are more involved in marketing; or that CEOs are trying to portray themselves as the ones who are leading their organization's media marketing policy.

The awards ceremony for Marketing Man of the Year will open the Marketing and Media 2004 convention, to be held January 17-18 at the David Intercontinental Hotel in Tel Aviv. The list of candidates is comprised of the people chosen as "Marketing Men of the Month" by the Advertising Association.

The candidates are: Udi Pinchevsky, deputy general manager at Globes who came up with the original idea for the Globes Israeli Business Conference in 1992; Avi Katz, CEO of Kfar Hasha'ashuim, for good business thinking, including the division of the population by their shopping habits; Pnina Shenhav, marketing vice-president for Bezeq who opened the high-speed Internet market; Talia Aharoni, the director of MAALA (Business for Social Responsibility in Israel); Yair Dori, CEO of the Yair Dori Group, which distributes South American television soap operas in Israel; Ronit Raphael, owner of the Ronit Refael chain of beauty clinics; Yossi Warshavsky, CEO of the Schocken chain who led the Ta'am Ha'ir (Taste of the City) project - a food market in Tel Aviv; Eran Yasud, CEO of Forum Publishing, which publishes Forum Marketing and marketing magazines for specific audiences; Erez Paz, marketing vice-president for Coca Cola, for the successful market penetration of the six-pack of canned drinks and Diet Cola Lemon and for Coca Cola's music village at Nitzanim; Nili Tzur, marketing vice-president for Tzabar Salads, for increasing Tzabar's market share beyond that of Strauss'; Gil Sharon, deputy CEO of Pelephone, for the Escape campaign; and Giora Offer, CEO of Discount, for attracting more private customers.