AT a recent photo shoot in the garment district, Joshua Neuman was dressed all in white, except for a black bowler hat and black combat boots. He wore fake eyelashes on his right eyelid, and held a cane in one hand, a glass of milk in the other.
It was a homage to Stanley Kubrick’s “A Clockwork Orange,” with a twist. Mr. Neuman, the editor and publisher of Heeb Magazine, the 5-year-old quarterly magazine marketed to urban Jews in their 20s and 30s, also wore a fake beard and the type of fringed prayer shawl worn by Hasidim.
“It’s a bit of the old ultra-Hasidic violence,” he said. Then, he asked the photographer, David Neff, “Should I be stroking my beard?”
When it was introduced in 2002, the magazine, particularly its name playing on an anti-Semitic slur, drew headlines and the ire of the Anti-Defamation League. “When we started, we didn’t have advertisers and literally couldn’t give ads away, because people were freaked out by the name,” Mr. Neuman said.
So Heeb started running parody ads. Unbeknownst to Streit’s, the 82-year-old kosher foods company on Rivington Street on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, Heeb published a full-page parody of Streit’s in late 2003.
“We were just goofing off,” Mr. Neuman said. But then, Streit’s got so much positive response from the ad that the company paid to run it in the next issue, and has been paying for ads ever since.
Since then, Heeb has served as what Mr. Neuman called a “quasi ad agency.” The staff conceives and executes ads that don’t appear in other publications for several of the magazine’s advertisers, including LoHo Realty and Gold Pure Food Products. Although advertisers usually pay agencies to design ads, Mr. Neuman waives that fee, but requires that such advertisers buy full-page ads and sign multiple-issue contracts.…
Four pages of ads in the current issue were Heeb’s handiwork, and the previous issue was a “milestone,” Mr. Neuman said: For the first time, ad revenue — more than half from Heeb-conceived ads — paid the issue’s print bill. “There’s no way we’re in business without functioning as a quasi ad agency,” Mr. Neuman said. “No way. Maybe we’d be in business as a Web site, but there’s no way we’d be printing a magazine without it.”…
Check out the hysterical Heeb Hookups video on Heeb's website.