Join 3,432 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


In the beginning, there was no advertising
September 8, 2011 8:14 PM   Subscribe

In a regular spot on the show called The Pitch, ABC Television’s The Gruen Transfer (previously) this week asked two ad agencies to come up with a pitch for why religion should be banned. Here are the pitches in SYTL format.
posted by the noob (49 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
I'd have to go with the second one. It's got fear, violence and kids, a solid scare-and-comfort tactic.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 8:24 PM on September 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wil Anderson is my personal pitch for why God doesn't exist.
posted by smithsmith at 8:28 PM on September 8, 2011 [4 favorites]


Huh. Both ads just glossed right over the fact that banning religion doesn't actually eliminate religion at all. They must think their viewers are idiots.
posted by The World Famous at 8:50 PM on September 8, 2011


Both ads just glossed right over the fact that banning religion doesn't actually eliminate religion at all.

But that wasn't the pitch - the pitch was banning not eliminating.
posted by the noob at 9:04 PM on September 8, 2011


The second one was much more pursuasive for me. Equating someones's concept of "god" with the flat Earth or human sacrifice is simplistic and honestly quite offensive. But if there's one thing that trumps millennia of deeply ingrained cultural norms, it is the safety and well being of one's own children.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 9:15 PM on September 8, 2011


i'm going to ask two churches to come up with a sermon on why advertising should be banned
posted by pyramid termite at 9:20 PM on September 8, 2011 [5 favorites]


It would, of course, be utterly impossible for this idea to even be broached on the other ABC.

And countdown to this being the basis of an urban legend/viral that Australia's government is actually considering the ban in 10 ... 9 ....
posted by dhartung at 9:22 PM on September 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


So. It's established that the definition of "religion" is rather flexible. That's why people who don't believe shit can still be "religious" if they go through the motions and call themselves religious.

So we should be able to define the word in the way that most benefits the public good.

So I propose an amendment to define "religion" as not having ever existed.

Objections?
posted by LogicalDash at 9:28 PM on September 8, 2011


Both ads just glossed right over the fact that banning religion doesn't actually eliminate religion at all. They must think their viewers are idiots.

Thank god they didn't fall for that shit when they tried to ban drugs. Can you imagine how stupid people would have to be?
posted by empath at 9:48 PM on September 8, 2011 [14 favorites]


The first one says "Religious beliefs are outdated, just like these other beliefs. Ditch them." Oversimplified, but somewhat effective. But it also implies that all religious beliefs are silly, and many consider "love your neighbor" to be one of them, and to not be silly at all. Kinda throws the baby out with the bath water.

The second ad says "People have misused and misunderstood religion for a long time, and that's made for some really awful times." This is true, but it's not a critique on religion, it's a critique on miseducation. It's essentially equivalent to saying "Some environmentalists are douche bags, and some have used "going green" as a way to make a fast buck without helping anyone. So lets stop trying to save the planet."

That being said, any program that just encourages ad people to think they're having more ground breaking, awesome ideas, should be banished from existence.
posted by toekneebullard at 9:49 PM on September 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


Both ads just glossed right over the fact that banning religion doesn't actually eliminate religion at all. They must think their viewers are idiots.

Or they think that their viewers have some sort of context of the actual point of the show and don't just jump to incorrect conclusions. The show is about ads, not religion, and The Pitch is about selling a concept, not how to go about social change.


That being said, any program that just encourages ad people to think they're having more ground breaking, awesome ideas, should be banished from existence.

The Gruen Transfer (which must admit, I am a fan of) isn't really about this at all. A lot of it is disecting issues around ads and more often than not takes a negative view of advertising styles. It's worth noting that it airs on the ABC, Australia's public broadcaster that has no commercial advertising whatsoever. The Pitch is less an idea of 'look how clever ad people are' but rather how would an actual ad agency go about selling something controversial or undesirable. It produces ads you would never see were they not commisioned by the show.
posted by Serial Killer Slumber Party at 9:56 PM on September 8, 2011 [11 favorites]


Agreed. I also approve of banning that institution that has destroyed more lives and made more people unhappy that any other in human history. Then we can take on the lesser evils, like marketing.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:57 PM on September 8, 2011


Serial Killer Slumber Party is exactly right. If you think the program is about ad people patting themselves on the back, that's just not even a little bit accurate. I've seen the most vicious take-downs of ads and advertising in general on TGT, and if anything it lays bare the crass, commercial core of advertising and dares you to try to pretend it's not there.
posted by yellowcandy at 10:03 PM on September 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Please do not ban the practice of my, or any other religion out there.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:32 PM on September 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


I missed this episode, so I won't comment, but the show is great. Except for Wil Anderson, who's way too smug. But it's pretty interesting, though its sad/funny how 'cheap' Australian ads look. Like community television cheap.

I'm surprised AMC doesn't make a local version.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 10:49 PM on September 8, 2011



The first one says "Religious beliefs are outdated, just like these other beliefs. Ditch them." Oversimplified, but somewhat effective. But it also implies that all religious beliefs are silly, and many consider "love your neighbor" to be one of them, and to not be silly at all. Kinda throws the baby out with the bath water.


Context: Australia is not only less religious than America but less reverent in general. They consider most forms of seriousness silly, and mock pretty much EVERYTHING.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 10:50 PM on September 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


In 622 Islam was banned in Mecca. A century or two later there was no religion bigger from Spain to Pakistan.

In 1847 Brigham Young was chased from Illinois for his beliefs. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been spreading fast ever since.

In the year 64 Christians were hunted. Beaten. Tortured. Killed. Today Christianity is the most popular religion on earth.

Ban religion today.

paid for by People For An Oppressively Religious Future
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 11:11 PM on September 8, 2011 [6 favorites]


But it's pretty interesting, though its sad/funny how 'cheap' Australian ads look

In Australia Sony famously used an shoe box to advertise the PS3 rather than risk showing a real PS3 - The did not want to risk being mocked by an irreverent public - that and the marketing budget didn't extend to the cost of actually purchasing PS3 - which in Australia costs about $1800 and uses electricity.

LiB - you need to be writing a travel guide.
posted by the noob at 11:18 PM on September 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


In Australia Sony famously used an shoe box to advertise the PS3 rather than risk showing a real PS3

At least a shoebox can handle my PS2 games.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 11:21 PM on September 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


"Wil Anderson is my personal pitch for why God doesn't exist."

Wil Anderson is my personal pitch for why God doesn't shouldn't exist.

My God is a vengeful God…
posted by Pinback at 11:43 PM on September 8, 2011


The line between fearing religion, and fearing social behavior itself, is thinner than one might think.
posted by effugas at 12:16 AM on September 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


its sad/funny how 'cheap' Australian ads look
I always think the US (and a lot of euro) ads they over dub and show on aussie TV look very cheesy. UK and Australian adverts are quite similar.
posted by bystander at 12:20 AM on September 9, 2011


Absolute tingles on the realisation those kids were playing beach cricket. Can't ban that feeling.
posted by doublehappy at 12:23 AM on September 9, 2011


Buddhist icon being pushed over a cliff: CHECK
Hindu icon being pushed over a cliff: CHECK
Christian icon being pushed over a cliff - hey and let's give him a St George's Cross to hold on to: HELL YEAH, DOUBLE CHECK
Islamic icon being pushed over a cliff............... *crickets chirping, coyotes howling*

I'd love to have been privy to the conversation when the slimeballs decided to omit Islam in their cute Terry Gilliamesque animation.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 12:37 AM on September 9, 2011


I also approve of banning that institution that has destroyed more lives and made more people unhappy that any other in human history.

What, ban banking? Good luck with that.
posted by philip-random at 12:45 AM on September 9, 2011


I used to love this show, until they blocked the podcast outside Australia
posted by DanCall at 1:10 AM on September 9, 2011


Nthing Serial Killer Slumber Party's description of The Gruen Transfer.

And DanCall, does it have to be podcast for you to watch? I'm streaming it from outside Australia from the official website without being region blocked. (Otherwise, how else would I have found out that this campaign increased sales by over 300% and won a silver and bronze lion at Cannes. Use-by dates on pillows. It seems so obvious now someone else has thought of it.)
posted by coffeepot at 1:29 AM on September 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, anyone commenting on the infeasibility of banning religion is missing the point, and also didn't watch the intro where Anderson mentioned previous Pitch topics like "Invading New Zealand" and "Killing everyone over 80". It's not meant to be feasible or even a good idea, it's meant to be about how advertising can be used to persuade people of anything.

The Pitch is my favourite part of the show / the only part of the show I like (depending on how annoyingly smug I'm finding the presenters that day). The ads it generates are really clever, and it shows how marketing isn't about the correctness of the proposition at all. You'd think that'd be obvious, but I know a guy who said "well, they wouldn't be advertising that land development if it wasn't any good". When I said that it was exactly the same as any other new suburb in a city devoted to sprawl, and that ads are just a notification method, not a guarantee of quality, other people seemed really suprised and struck by that way of looking at things. There's a certain amount of trust in ads - that there are laws to prevent crap things from being promoted (there aren't) or prevent misleading claims (there are, but they're only enforced if someone complains).
posted by harriet vane at 2:18 AM on September 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


@CoffeePot - yes - I find it more convenient that way. But I didn't know about the stream, so I'll try to watch on that.

Apparently the BBC made a pilot for a British version a while ago, but it never aired, probably because they stuffed it with the usual panel show comedians, rather than funny ad industry people.

What they should do is keep the format as it is, get Hugh Dennis to host it (used to work for Unilever on Timotei), and then find a few funny ad people via Twitter. You're welcome.
posted by DanCall at 3:04 AM on September 9, 2011


Please do not ban the practice of my, or any other religion out there.

Yeah, me too. (Wait, you're talking about advertising, right?)
posted by Mcable at 5:18 AM on September 9, 2011


You can't ban stupidity.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:44 AM on September 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


These guys are just pitching the idea, they're in no position of power. Just so you know.

Break free from the power of advertising! It's all an illusion.
posted by h00py at 6:07 AM on September 9, 2011


I don't know what all the fuss is about. Advertising only affects the weak minded. I'll go ahead and check the links out...
...
Must... ban... religion...
posted by charred husk at 6:19 AM on September 9, 2011


I liked the *first* one. The second one in effect said, just ban religion and people will stop hating and killing each other. Non sequitur. The first one, to inappropriately paraphrase Paul, said, "When I was a child, I believed in childish things. Now, grown up, I leave those childish things behind."
posted by jabah at 6:55 AM on September 9, 2011


"Religion is like a penis. If you have one, that's great. I'm not going to try to take it away from you. But don't pull it out in public, and definitely don't try to ram it down my kid's throat."

(attribution missing)
posted by Eideteker at 7:21 AM on September 9, 2011 [5 favorites]


I'd love to have been privy to the conversation when the slimeballs decided to omit Islam in their cute Terry Gilliamesque animation.

So are there just no Jews in Australia or...?
posted by griphus at 8:24 AM on September 9, 2011


(I... Uh, I think I quoted the wrong part of that comment for my comment to not sound horrible.)
posted by griphus at 8:26 AM on September 9, 2011


So are there just no Jews in Australia or...?

Less than 0.4% of the population is Jewish. Compared to America where estimations vary between 1.7% and 2.2%.

(I... Uh, I think I quoted the wrong part of that comment for my comment to not sound horrible.)

I know what you were trying to say. FYI, I don't think you can make any broad brushed generalization not horrible. Why don't you just start telling black jokes or gay jokes next?
posted by Talez at 8:55 AM on September 9, 2011



I predict:

Next week one of my Tea Party relatives will forward me an email with the subject line FW: FW: FW: Fw: SHOCKING PICS FROM SECRET AD CAMPAIGN EXPOSE OBAMA PLAN BAN RELIGION!!!

The shocking story will be on Fox Morning News the next day. It will be debunked and mocked by Jon Stewart that night, but Michelle Bachman will keep talking about it at events not covered by the MSM.
posted by RandlePatrickMcMurphy at 8:59 AM on September 9, 2011


In that case, I do not think you know what I was trying to say. Or, if you do, I am confounded as to how it can be interpreted as offensive. The part I should have quoted was:

Buddhist icon being pushed over a cliff: CHECK
Hindu icon being pushed over a cliff: CHECK
Christian icon being pushed over a cliff - hey and let's give him a St George's Cross to hold on to: HELL YEAH, DOUBLE CHECK
Islamic icon being pushed over a cliff............... *crickets chirping, coyotes howling*


The joke being that, in his outrage over exclusion, even he left out the Jews.
posted by griphus at 9:03 AM on September 9, 2011


I am a Dawkinsian loudmouth atheist and I do not under any circumstances want religion to be banned.

I want it to be outgrown.
posted by Legomancer at 11:36 AM on September 9, 2011


Please do not ban the practice of my, or any other religion out there.

Well, too late. I banned it already. Banned it hard, too.

Felt so good, I might even ban it tomorrow. Keep an eye out.
posted by grubi at 11:43 AM on September 9, 2011


At least a shoebox can handle my PS2 games.

So can my PS3.
posted by grubi at 11:49 AM on September 9, 2011


Islamic icon being pushed over a cliff.

What do you suggest? Cartoons of the prophet? There aren't too many Islamic symbols, maybe a crescent moon? I can't really think of one that instantly conveys Islam. I wonder if the decision was borne of avoiding a fatwa, or the art department couldn't lay their hands on any suitable imagery.
posted by the noob at 5:04 PM on September 9, 2011


I agree with the second ad. The national religion of Australia should be cricket. Everything else is a false path.
posted by Ritchie at 5:16 PM on September 9, 2011


What do you suggest? Cartoons of the prophet?

Erm. Considering the WHOLE THING was a cartoon, then yes. The Danes manages to depict Mohammed as a cartoon. Where there's a will there's a way, sizzlechest.

And yes, yes, well done all of you. "B-b-but the J00z!" This being an Australian ad campaign, any normal person would include the noisiest, tub thumpingest, women who get raped should wear more clothesest, divisive religion in Australia.

They were too gutless.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 7:44 PM on September 9, 2011


I wonder if the decision was borne of avoiding a fatwa.

Of course it was.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 7:44 PM on September 9, 2011


What's this "sizzlechest" you keep saying? Is it like "Hot Lips" Houlihan?
posted by harriet vane at 5:19 AM on September 10, 2011


I agree with the second ad. The national religion of Australia should be cricket. Everything else is a false path.
posted by Ritchie at 5:16 PM on September 9 [+] [!]


Though I heartily agree in principle, perhaps we should wait a few years until Clarke is no longer the test captain - not really the best choice for our inaugural 'High Priest'.
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 4:10 PM on September 13, 2011


« Older Mike Rowe remembers his high school music teacher,...  |  Sextortion /sekˈstɔː(r)ʃ(ə)n/ ... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments