There’s obviously some level of humor in a church marketing themselves in such a way that might or might not confuse them with a beer company. What’s even funnier? That “a number of individuals—including other churches—were increasingly adopting the format to promote their own message…”.
The church in question created a sign that read, “Jesus was just a man…Yeah Right,” with striking visual similarity to a popular ad campaign from Tui beer. The inspiration for the church’s sign is pretty hard to miss, and it goes to prove that church copycats aren’t only here in the United States.
So is this just another story of a church ripping someone off? Not quite. I think we can learn from how Bethlehem Community Church ended up handling this situation:
Mr. [Jim] Wallace [of Bethlehem Community Church] said he was prepared to apologise “on national television” if the church had offended the brewery.
That’s awesome! The church offended someone, and they are prepared to publicly apologize. I can’t wait to see it happ…oh, wait! It gets even better. From a follow-up piece:
Today, DB [Breweries] said it had “extended an olive branch” to the church and Tui marketing manager Jarrod Bear had asked its advertising agency, Saatchi’s, to look into a new billboard format specifically for the church.
The brewery actually had their marketing department come up with marketing copy the church could use. Jim Wallace, the church pastor, called it “an unprecedented, generous move.” He went on to say:
“We are not in the business of fighting copyright law. We are not here to make enemies, we are here to tell people about Jesus and to do it with a sense of humour.”
So now they’ve gone from trademark infringement to friends in the matter of a month. We can’t wait to see the fruits of a local church working with a local brewery to reach out to their community, and it gets us to thinking: If Kiwi churches are finding ways to collaborate with breweries, what kind of businesses is your church partnering with? What opportunities are there that we’re just not opening our eyes to?