ADVERTISING & PROMOTION: Religious ads lift the spirit

The profile of religious advertising will be raised next week when the Church of Scientology launches its first ever TV advertising campaign.

The profile of religious advertising will be raised next week when the

Church of Scientology launches its first ever TV advertising campaign.

The move follows moves by the Church of England to woo Christians with

an ad which dubs the birth of Jesus a ‘Bad hair day’. However, the

Scientology campaign, which is to run for a month on UK Gold and UK

Living, is likely to overshadow ads for the Christian church in the UK.

The Scientology ads, or ‘sponsored messages’ were produced in-house in

the US. Media buying in the UK will be carried out by Professional

Marketing Services.

The ads feature people from different cultures saying the word ‘trust’,

and end with ‘On the day we can finally trust each other there will be

peace on Earth’.

According to Rachal Rayerson, spokeswoman for the Church of Scientology,

the campaign aims to build awareness of the church in the UK, and may

pave the way for more TV ads next year. There are restrictions on how

religious groups can advertise on TV (see box) and the Scientologists

have had previous campaigns rejected.

She says the campaign was a brand-building exercise for the church and

not a recruitment drive. ‘We look at this as a continuous initiative to

make information about the church available. It is an opportunity to get

the message out and let people know we exist.’

The ‘Bad hair day’ ad was designed with a similar purpose, but the

uproar it has caused within the Church of England suggests it is not

ready to embrace modern advertising techniques.

The ad was commissioned by Churches Advertising Network and produced by

a voluntary group called Christians in the Media.

Tom Ambrose, spokesman for the Churches Advertising Network, says the

aim was to appeal to people outside the church.

‘You are not going to reach people without putting off those who are old

and preachy. We don’t want people to think we are ashamed of this

campaign, we are actually very proud of it. We showed it to groups of

young people and they said it was exactly what we needed.’


ITC commandments


The ITC states religious ads will be refused if the group:

* Practices or advocates illegal behaviour

* Does not normally allow public access to its rites

* Asks for donations (unless from religious charities which can

demonstrate the money goes to a third party)

* Aims to promote its doctrines or criticise others

* Aims to play on the fears of non-believers

* Aims to promote faith healing or miracle working



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