Proselytizing Meet Advertising

from The NY Times: The International Bible Society paid to insert a copy of the New Testament in last Sunday’s issue of The Colorado Springs Gazette.
The volume went into the same pocket of the newspaper’s plastic pouch where items like CD’s from America Online or soap samples often go. The Bible group paid the standard advertising rate, and its spokeswoman, Judy Billings, said it considered the 91,000 copies of the New Testament a Christmas gift to the people of Colorado Springs.
Bob Burdick, publisher of The Gazette, said that the paper regularly took advertising from religious and political groups, and that most readers understood that such advertisements did not amount to an endorsement of their ideas.
“We’re not in the business of stifling ideas,” Mr. Burdick said. “I don’t think papers have to back away from ideas because they’re religious ideas, just as they shouldn’t back away from ideas because they’re political ideas.”
The society inserted the Gospel of Luke into editions of The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Miss., on Palm Sunday and sent more than 420,000 copies with The Houston Chronicle on Aug. 29. That distribution was meant to coincide with the release on DVD of the Mel Gibson movie “The Passion of the Christ,” which was inspired by the Gospel of Luke.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.