This week the Church of England have taken over the headlines here in the UK, after leading cinemas refused to screen a commercial they had made featuring the Lord’s Prayer.
The advert that they submitted can be seen here:
There were no complaints made from the general public about the advert and the rules set out by the Committee of Advertising Practice only urge advertisers to avoid causing offence and inciting hatred, they do not say that something of a religious nature cannot be shown.
A lot of us will no doubt be going to the cinema over the Christmas period to see the new blockbusters like Star Wars, so it was a great advertising idea by the Church of England to capitalize on this market. I think that churches need to use media and interact with culture to reach people in the modern world we live in, so will always support initiatives like this as I want to see more things like this. I want to see the media taken over on all levels.
I think he big cinema chains scored a huge own-goal by banning this advert. From a business perspective they gave away income and lost future potential business from the Church of England. After doing this they also gave the Church of England a million times more publicity than they would have got, if the advert hadn’t been banned. The biggest marketing and publicity companies would be giving themselves the biggest high fives if they managed to get the publicity that this advert has received but it wasn’t a marketing company, it was a church.
The big chain cinemas could face a backlash for this action as by some media outlets they are being seen as not allowing freedom of speech. People will continue to go and see films, don’t get me wrong, but peoples view of certain chains of cinemas could change considerably.
In the UK, the media is telling us that we are becoming less of a Christian nation. The uproar about this advert being banned gives me hope and I think shows that although church attendance maybe down or the number of people who call themselves Christian maybe down, underneath these numbers I think there is still a lot of support for the church and Christian faith in the UK.
The timing of all of this in the run up to advent and Christmas is brilliant for the church and Christianity. The cinemas did not think this through at all but I hope through this incident that it will encourage more people to think of Christ this Christmas.