MarketingWeek recently covered a church in Belfast who had an ad pulled for being too offensive.
The Advertising Standards Authority has banned a regional press advert from the Sandown Free Presbyterian Church in Belfast for using strong biblical references to campaign against homosexuality.
The ad used biblical references such as “Thou shalt not lie down with mankind, as with womankind; it is an abomination” to convey its opinion on homosexuality.
The article goes on to say that the ASA considered the ad too strong and offensive. Their punishment? In the future, they need to seek approval by the ASA before publishing any advertising.
This brings up a lot of questions. The first of which is why the church is using their voice to speak in a way that’s so evidently doomed to failure. Shouting loud and negative just doesn’t work. Ever.
The other, perhaps stickier, question, is the implications of church marketing censorship. I’ve never really heard of church marketing being censored by a government agency. (And yes, I know the issue isn’t that it’s a church but what the church is saying, but this could be a slippery slope here.) How should churches respond to this sort of censorship?
I would think that if you feel you have a message important enough, censorship should be no obstacle, and creativity should come in to play as a way around the censors in place.