Monday, December 18, 2006

Catholics might not go to Hell

When easily-offended religionists hand me the opportunity to make fun of them, who am I to refuse? But who could have guessed that condoms from Hell (Pizza) would still provide entertainment?

An editorial in a catholic newspaper has called for catholics to “abstain” from purchasing products from Hell Pizza because of its distribution of condoms as part of a promotion for its Lust pizza. According to an NZPA story published on the NZ Herald website:

The editorial said the promotion was more cynical and offensive than a TV campaign because it robbed parents of the chance to stop their children from being exposed by changing the channel.

Apparently, the Advertising Standards Authority agreed, because it ruled against Hell Pizza, which I blogged about at the time. What more the catholic newspaper hopes to achieve, apart from publicity for itself, is beyond me.

However, while the catholic newspaper provided an opportunity for a good chuckle at its expense, the advertising agency responsible for the campaign responded by saying some probably unfortunate things:

Kirk MacGibbon of Cinderella Marketing, the firm which handles all of Hell's advertising, said if Catholics decided on a boycott there wasn't much Hell could do about it.

Okay, fair enough—but then he went on:

“I'm not sure how many Catholics buy from Hell, anyway," Mr MacGibbon said.

Perhaps he meant conservative, easily-offended catholics, but that’s not what he said.

“When we did research we found... it’s people like the Catholic church who are giving people advice that condoms don’t work in protecting you from sexual diseases and the best course is abstinence. That is a load of rubbish.”

He’s absolutely right. But some might ask if it was in the best interest of his client to actually say that. Not to worry. He added:

"(T)he company ha(s) a loyal customer base and sales wouldn't be affected by a Catholic boycott."

Personally, I find it refreshing when someone takes on the nonsensical activities of religious crusaders. And honesty from an ad agency would seem to be a welcome change. Whether Hell Pizza or its new owners agree will determine whether MacGibbon was being forthright or foolhardy.

My guess is that MacGibbon will find out soon if the pathway to Hell is paved with good intentions.

Footnote: In my original post, I made fun of the Society for the Promotion of Community Standards, talking about how their name was pronounced “spuck”. A reader pointed out that, in fact, that nickname refers to the anti-abortion group “Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child” (SPUC). “Spix” just wouldn’t have worked in the post, for a whole variety of reasons. Still, one shouldn’t let a joke get in the way of accuracy, and I apologise for mucking that up. I’ll be more careful in future, and will be sure to link to the original source material, where available, so readers can make up their own minds about the subject.

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