Many mainline churches see multimillion-dollar advertising campaigns as the latest evangelistic tool, but none hit the news like the “God is Still Speaking” campaign from the United Church of Christ—in part because major TV networks classified the ads as “advocacy” spots and rejected them. The first series, aired on cable networks, showed gruff bouncers turning away select worshippers at the church door—including racial minorities and gay and lesbian couples—followed by the text “Jesus didn’t turn people away. Neither do we.” The newest ads, launched in November, show “unwelcome” minorities being shot out of church by ejector seats, accompanied by the text, “Jesus didn’t reject people.”
“These commercials are like modern parables,” campaign coordinator Ron Buford told Sojourners. “When people see these ads, they get it.” In fact, the ads won the Association of National Advertisers annual award for multicultural excellence. Buford is confident that future ads will build on this response, saying, “They will be funny, hard-hitting, and they will make the point.”
Ejector seats is Ron Buford's idea of 'whimsical.' I think it sounds silly. Not silly in a haha way either. Silly in an 'is this the best you could do?' kind of way.
I thought the bouncer ad worked because it spoke to people's experiences. This ad attempts to duplicate the communication of that experience, only, as Buford has said in other publications in a 'whimsical' way. A gay couple and a guy in a wheelchair being 'ejected' through the air is supposed to be the 'whimsical' part, but I doubt that anyone who has been ejected from a church in real life will see the ad and say, 'That's me!' Not while chuckling, anyway.
This ad is making light of the ejectee's experience, while the bouncer ad was seeking to take it seriously.
Why would the formerly churched laugh at this?