Monday, November 23, 2015

Media strategies

It seems that the Church of England may have finally hired someone who understands how modern media works. They recently created a 60 second proselytizing film mainly featuring that mainstay of attention-seeking masturbatory traditions, praying. The message being that people from all walks of life and from every kind of background in this country can and do masturbate like this; it makes them feel good and good luck to them.What people do in those private moments behind closed doors with their eyes closed is entirely up to them, so long as it's not done whilst operating heavy machinery.

The piece was designed to be shown in cinemas and they had hoped that it would be screened before the new Star Wars films this Christmas. Unfortunately their advert conflicted with the DCM (which covers Cineworld, Vue, Odeon and others) advertising policy which clearly states that it doesn't allow,

"Political or Religious Advertising"..

Of course we all know that any and every agency worth their salt would check this first so the Church's claim that they are "bewildered" and that this represents some kind of "snub" is frankly, fatuous. I can't help thinking that this is simply a cynical ploy to get more air time than they otherwise could have got; I think this high-profile story pretty much guarantees that vast numbers of people will view the film on social media, which, from a media strategy point of view, is probably much more useful than cinema and I'm not the only one that thinks this. I hear now they are even thinking of legal action, making this a free speech issue! That would complete the circle for me and if it happens then I'd feel even more confident this was all just manufactured to generate publicity (a religion, making stuff up, perish the thought!).

I believe this is the right decision by the DCM, proselytizing of any stripe has no place in the public square (adverts for Islam anyone?) where there is a captive audience like this who cannot realistically walk away. Although, judging by the amount of phone and nacho action in our local cinema during the show, it's a wonder anyone can concentrate long enough to make sense of anything! For me this isn't about being offended (I've seen it and it isn't offensive to me in any way, in fact no one is saying it is) it's about appropriate content for the setting. If there were no adverts at all in cinemas I'd be delighted, personally I go there to watch the movie I paid to watch, not to receive a hard-sell for trainers, Indian food, bank accounts, cigarettes or anything else, particularly not heavyweight things like politics or religion.

What is more amusing about all of this is the fact that the Church has to advertise Christianity at all? To me it sounds completely ludicrous that Yahweh, the guy that created our Universe, and who is omnipresent and omniscient is such a bad communicator that he needs a bunch of hipsters from Soho to tell us anything at all, why the need for so many middle-men? (I'll just leave that question hanging, I know everyone with any sense knows the answer and has done since the middle-ages)


Chairman Bill said...

Can't help feeling that in getting people to view it on YouTube, they're preaching to the converted.

Haven't seen it yet, and don't intend to waste my time looking for it either.

Steve Borthwick said...

CB, you could be right about that; I suspect they're after the "undecided's" i.e. those people who put "Christian" on the census form because that's what their Mum and Dad told them they were, but don't actually participate or think about it much.