One God Further


Every year the Super Bowl is at the center of some sort of controversy. Sometimes it’s the game itself, sometimes it’s the halftime show . This year it was an advertisement. The Church of Scientology found a way to buy ad space during the airing of the big game without having to pay those exorbitant prices. They cleverly bought ad space in local markets during times that were scheduled for breaks saved for regional advertisers. They did this in a multitude of local markets including, Los Angeles, New York, Seattle and Clearwater, Florida. Here is the original ad (the one that aired during the super bowl was cut to a 30 second run time).

This ad has been online on YouTube since December, where it had been viewed 60,000 times until yesterday. As of 1:30pm EST today (less than 24 hours after it aired during the Super Bowl), it has been viewed 93,500 times and counting. Not the landslide, I’m sure they were hoping for with such a high exposure time slot, but it’s still more than half of what they had been able to accumulate in the past 6 weeks.

This morning, there is a video going around the twitter-verse (thanks to the CultOfDusty) that I wish had aired instead of the Scientology ad during a time when the whole of the USA was praying to a god that their team would win. At first glance it looks like exactly the same ad, but if you stick with it until the end, you will see that it is indeed very different.

The tag line, ‘We go one god further’ is in itself a stroke of genius. Atheists have long said that everyone in the world is an atheist when it comes to all of the deities in which they choose not to believe. For example a Christian does not believe in Zeus, Allah, Krishna, Vishnu, Jehovah, Freyr, Loki, Ao, Maru, Jupiter or Shiva. Therefor a Christian is but one god (and his son) away from being an atheist. The same holds true for the Islamic people, the Hindu, the Shinto, the Jewish people, the Jehovah’s Witnesses and so on down the line. Once you have decided that you do not believe in a long laundry list of gods, it’s such a small step to shed that last one, which is why the fastest growing group in the Western world is the non-religious.

After all, we are all born atheists. It’s not until we are indoctrinated by our parents or our “spiritual leaders” that we succumb to a belief in any one deity.


Clever advertising

This week gave us a couple of very clever ads. The first seemed to be unintentionally awkward and funny, the second was very expensive and made no sense. I submit that both were very successful in achieving their end goal.

Let’s start with British Gas’ sponsorship of 18-year-old Olympic swimmer Tom Daley.

Perfect placement for maximum exposure if you ask me.

The incredibly clever placement of the British Gas logo had the internet buzzing and giggling. Yes it’s funny in that, insert fart joke here, kind of way and that’s precisely what makes it so clever and ultimately successful. Had the logo appeared only on the jacket of Tom Daley’s warm up suit, no one would be talking about British Gas, but place the logo on the back of his speedo and you have advertising gold. Talk about bang for your buck.

Speaking of bang for your buck, the folks behind the new advertising campaign for Chanel Number 5, a fragrance so iconic it really doesn’t need to advertise anymore, paid Brad Pitt $7,000,000 to stand in front of a backdrop in a studio somewhere for 30 seconds and read the most nonsensical copy that had absolutely nothing to do with the brand.

Seeing as all of the late night talk shows, the entertainment “news” shows and the blogosphere (including this humble little slice of the web) is talking about the puzzling ad, I would say that its money well spent. By creating possibly the worst ad I have ever seen, Chanel has successfully created their most talked about ad campaign in decades.

After all, the goal of advertising is to get as many people talking about your brand as possible. With these kind of outside the box ideas, both British Gas and Chanel have done just that. Though personally I prefer a little more truth with my advertising like the ad slogans from the movie Crazy People.

Useless emotions


For me a useless emotion is one that is used to manipulate the masses into behaving a certain way. Businesses like advertising or religion have utilized these emotions in order to get you to buy their product. In the case of religion, guilt is a heavily played upon emotion. Religion makes us feel guilty for committing acts that are within our own nature, then tells us that only by seeking forgiveness from the church can we be absolved of the very same guilt they, themselves have made us feel for our actions.

For me guilt is akin to crying over spilled milk. If I have done something to someone else that I feel bad about, I apologize sincerely. Sometimes I am forgiven, sometimes not. Forgiveness isn’t in my control and if that is my only reason for apologizing, then I’m not truly sorry. Once I have tried to make amends, whether I am forgiven or not, I move on. It’s a waste of time to dwell.


Shame is another useless emotion. It is the flip side of guilt. Guilt is something you feel over something you have done, whereas shame is something you feel over who you are.  Look at the seven deadly sins, anger, greed, sloth, envy, lust, gluttony and pride. They are all emotions that humans feel naturally. If we are to believe that we are made in the image of a deity, then why are these emotions somehow shameful?

Women are made to feel shame for everything from natural bodily functions like menstruation (the curse) and menopause (the change) to our sexuality (slut shaming). It’s a wonder we can leave the house at all.


One of the best marketing tools that is employed by advertising agencies around the world is envy. Ads that make you want what others have have proven to be very effective. Even ads that use the old adage of sex sells are using the envy model. They make you covet the lifestyle being shown to you… a lifestyle you don’t have. What’s wrong with what you DO have? I can guarantee if you don’t like your current lifestyle, that buying a new iPod isn’t going to fix it. In fact a new iPod may just magnify the situation (I have no friends to put into this huge address book, for example).


Jealousy differs from envy. With envy you want what someone else has. With jealousy you want to be what someone else is. It makes you ask, ‘What’s wrong with me?’ In marketing this is famously utilized by an ad for Pantene shampoo in which actress/model, Kelly LeBrock says, “Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful”. This ad was meant to make women think that they could be beautiful too if they would just wash their hair with Pantene. If jealousy has to be used as a marketing tool, I’d much rather see a university advertise itself by having an accomplished woman like Hillary Clinton, Angela Merkel or Christine LaGarde saying, “Don’t hate me because I’m smart.” At least that would send a more productive message to young women, but I digress. Jealousy is useless because you may never be what someone else is. Happiness is to embrace who YOU are.

There may be some of you who think I should have included fear on this list of useless emotions. It is used by both religion, and advertising, not to mention government to make the masses behave a certain way. But fear differs from the above four emotions in one very key way. Fear is a warning sign that can save your life. Yes most fears are needless or even irrational, like my fear of birds. But sometimes a little fear can stop you from rushing head first into a dangerous situation.

Guilt, shame, envy and jealousy are about as useful as our appendix. They are emotions that, perhaps, it’s time to evolve past.