Monday, 23 February 2009

Magazine sneak peek: campaign copycats...

Dear reader, our blog has moved to a new address.

Do come on over (and change your bookmarks accordingly): rationalist.org.uk

Apologies for a lack of blog action recently – with a new issue to finish and send to the printers . . . you get the idea.

Anyway, to get us back on track I thought I'd share my favourite Parish News item from our new issue. It's about the Christian bus ads campaign, which I largely skipped over on here because of magazine production, and more importantly it's about never forgetting the Christian Party leader's hilarious past pursuits, having, by his own admission, "lived life in the fast lane" (read the music section of his Wikipedia):

Campaign copycats

As you will all by now be aware, the original inspiration for the Atheist Bus Campaign was an evangelical ad on the side of a bus. If they can do it why can’t we, thought non-believer Ariane Sherine – and thousands agreed. Now the game of copycat continues as the Christian Party launch their own bus campaign.

Their ad reads “There definitely is a God. So join the Christian Party and enjoy your life” and, in a huge compliment to irreligious design, it’s in exactly the same typeface and colours as the atheist campaign.

The Christian Party is a real political party, in the technical sense at least. It was founded in 2004 by Rev George Hargreaves, who previously stood as a candidate for James Goldsmith’s much lamented Referendum Party and who, during a period when he “fell away from the Lord”, wrote the timeless pop classic “So Macho” for the never-to-be-forgotten pop chanteuse Sinitta.

Thankfully he got back on the righteous path, where he could devote himself to serious issues like trying to get the dragon taken off the Welsh flag because it’s Satanic. And derivative bus ads.

11 comments:

AT said...

I don't want to reduce rationalism to one big ironic smirk - least of all in such an esteemed medium as the blog post - but the all-capital caption 'THERE DEFINITELY IS A GOD' has got to be the height of dry humor.

'Is there?'
'Yup. Definitely.'

DavidMWW said...

I wish he'd spelt it 'DEFINATELY'.

Your Name Here said...

Wait, wait. Is that legal? Not just the design ripoff - the "definitely" bit. I thought the "probably" in the original campaign was there because ads are fobidden from making unprovable statements or something like that. What's going on?

Andrew said...

I'm tempted to agree with Your Name Here here: they're making a direct factual claim and using it to justify punters paying to join their party. That clearly falls smack into the middle of the ASA's remit and I don't think that the claim "there definitely is a god" can be substantiated. You wouldn't get away with "antioxidants definitely prevent cancer, so buy our yoghurt and enjoy your life" and I don't see how this is any different.

nullifidian said...

As I posted on my own blog, that particular ad appears (IMO as a lay member of the public, who the codes are in place to represent) to be in contravention of the clauses on general principles (§2.1, §2.2), substantiation (§3.1, §3.3, §3.4), honesty (§6.1), truthfulness (§7.1, §7.2), matters of opinion (§8.1), fear and distress (§9.1, §9.3), safety (§10.1), arguably violence and anti-social behaviour (§11.1), and political advertising (§12.1) of the ASA code, and including, as Your Name Here points out, the imitation clause §21.1 ("No marketing communication should so closely resemble any other that it misleads, is likely to mislead or causes confusion.")

Grumpy Bob said...

I suspect that the only pictures I've seen of gorgeous George's bus adverts have been mockups, but if the real think so closely mimicks the atheist adverts as those images suggest, isn't that an issue? They really might have made an effort to design their own.

Anonymous said...

I know that copying is supposed to be the height of flattery...but that is just tacky. Some people we don't need flattery from.

Paul Sims said...

Grumpy Bob, the image on this post is as real as you're going to get - I stood on the steps of our Gower St office and waited for one to go past!

As for those suggesting a complaint to the ASA might be in order - isn't that what the likes of Christian Voice do? Free speech people - let them get on with it...

Joe Hayhurst said...

If they can say that, the next atheist campaign should read: 'God is definitely a grumpy, narcissistic, violent sociopath'.

We can have some fun with this...

Neil said...

As a kid I got taken to church. We used to say "I believe in a god a sort of father almighty ...". Er, no I think that may be slightly wrong.

"A god"? As an atheist I just feel tempted to ask which one that would be. But what about the monotheists, don't they find it a tad blasphemous?

Andrew said...

Oh, I agree, let them have their fun. Frankly I think it's such a rubbish advert that having it taken down would be doing the Christian Party a favour. But I think it's worth discussing whether or not it breaks the rules, because there's always a chance that someone will complain. If the ASA refused to enforce the rules when the offending message was religious, then we would have a problem.