Thursday, April 7, 2011

The ad industry is going to hell.

It's Easter season, so expect to see lots of outrageous campaigns and outraged Christians.

But in a cynical world, how far do you need to push irreverence to even get noticed? For a start, we have a strong contender from Auckland, New Zealand's Hell Pizza chain, promoting their pentagram-decorated "Hell Cross Buns":

According to the NZ Herald, Anglican Church media officer Lloyd Ashton was quick to comment:

"The ad is another example of already over-remunerated ad people getting paid more to churn out 'risque' ads. They've dared here to take a clumsy poke at something that numbers of people hold sacred."

He also commented that "their buns are stale".

Hell Pizza director Warren Powell countered with one of the most disingenuous rationales ever uttered:

"We expected it would spark some debate and some talking between people in the offices. Which is good. It means our marketing budget works a little bit harder.
I do not see how it could possibly be disrespectful to anyone's religion.

First of all, we're acknowledging that Jesus Christ may have been on Earth for a limited time. We may bring them back next year, and everyone's saying that
Jesus Christ is coming back one day. Again, it's a debate. I think if people take it that way then they're being a little bit single-minded."

The Herald does not mention whether Powell was smoking anything at the time, or whether he was able to maintain a straight face.

To set the record straight, I'm not offended by this ad's cheap poke at Jesus. I just find it a dumb, lazy creative idea, that at no time was intended to generate "debate". It's just there to ingratiate the brand among its target audiences of anti-religious students and stoners by freaking out the squares. Yawn.

Plus, it's in bad taste to make fun of a dead guy. Even if he has taken an unholy interest in pizza of late.

"Blessed are the cheesemakers..."

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