God is a hard act to follow – NZ Xmas ad tiff

Its that time of year when the promoters of Christmas have to decide between safe and edgy. And a church in Auckland has gone for edgy. That Joseph is in bed with Mary at all will offend the Catholics. The insinuation of the divine 'Act' that Joseph found it so hard to follow will offend the rest of Christendom and everyone else will wonder why Christians are shooting themselves in the foot with such relish.  Because this ad is the latest in the genre of "Never mind the content let's get the conversation started". Arguing that the virgin birth is a relevant issue to have a discussion about. Actually the virgin birth isn't a particularly relevant issue for most people. I suspect the issue the church behind the poster wanted discussed was the divinity of Christ. But what I fear we will be left with is some bad tempered exchanges about the sex life of Mary and Joseph. Controversial isn't good for its own sake. But only if you can lay a solid trail of breadcrumbs to the issue you want discussed.

Toyota have had to take down a Yaris ad full of innuendo with a hint of incest following complaints. The defence of the creative behind it was that the ad was controversial so it would become famous. Missing the point. Misogyny is a silly way to sell cars. Especially if women are likely to buy them.  Earlier this year various Christian groups gave financial support to the Atheist bus campaign. Arguing that the issue was worth discussing – and they were confident where most people would emerge from that debate. I don't think the Auckland Christmas campaign or the Toyota ad serves the purpose its creators intended.



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