The Business Times

Ad agencies in US adopt risky creative strategy with faith-based commercials

Some ads are viewed millions of times, but those perceived as blasphemous can face a fierce reaction

Published Mon, Dec 14, 2015 · 09:50 PM
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LIKE a polite guest at a dinner party, the advertising industry typically avoids bringing up religion. But there are some advertisers - including Ram Trucks and the smartphone accessories company Mophie - that have made God or prayer a part of their campaigns, albeit very carefully.

It is a high-risk, high-reward strategy, said John Hegarty, a founder of the Bartle Bogle Hegarty ad agency in London. If done right, it can inspire religious or spiritually minded consumers to act, but if done wrong, it can alienate an audience, he said.

McDonald's combined messages such as "God protect the USA" and "God gave us a miracle" with those such as "We remember 9/11" in a 60-second television commercial early this year. During Super Bowl XLVII in 2013, Ram Trucks connected religion to pick-up trucks in a spot that used the slogan "So God made a farmer". With a vo…

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