Monday, August 15, 2005

NYC Ad Agency to Pitch New Image Campaign to Vatican

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Is there an audience for"The Coca-Cola White Smoke Instant Replay"?

NEW YORK CITY -- Redman & Redman, LLC, is hoping their new advertising campaign will have the world looking at the Vatican - and Catholicism - in a whole new way.

"This is actually our first ad campaign," said Steve Redman, who started the agency two weeks ago with his wife, Tammy. "We're real excited, though. We've been staying up until like 9:30 or 10 every night, putting the finishing touches on it."

The Redmans say the fact that they are non-practicing Jehovah's Witnesses enable them to have a unique perspective of the Catholic Church. "We have what we think are some good ideas about where the church needs to go," said Tammy. "However, even though we had our own ideas, we thought it was important to have focus groups, which we hosted in our kitchen last week." Among those participating in the focus groups included Tammy's dad, Steve's parents and sister, Tammy's best friend, Carol, a few neighbors, and the couple's dentist.

None of the focus group attendees were Catholic, but everyone had strong opinions, according to Dr. Bill Cook, who practices dentistry in Manhattan. "I think the focus on sin and right and wrong is kind of a turnoff," he said. "Others didn't like what the Pope wears and thought he needed an image consultant. Others thought the Vatican needed to move around every four years, you know, kind of like the Olympics, so everybody gets a shot at having it."

After doing the research, the Redmans put together a campaign that includes print, radio, TV, direct mail, and a new website. "Part of the campaign includes sponsorship opportunities with major corporations," said Tammy. "We'd love to see a Chase Manhattan World Youth Day or maybe the next time a pope is chosen, we could have "the white smoke instant replay", which could be sponsored by Microsoft or Coca-Cola."

In addition to the focus groups, the Redmans also conducted a phone poll. "We called about 10 or 15 people, and most of them really thought priests should get married," said Steve. "However, I did some googling on the net, and learned that quite a few married Protestant ministers have been accused of adultery and pedophilia, so that idea had to go." So instead, the Redmans are pitching the idea of confession by email and mass via internet live chat. "We are just going to eliminate actual human contact, and nip that problem in the bud," said Steve. The agency is also recommending that the Church cut out the focus on social justice endeavors that don't bring in any revenue. "The soup kitchens, the prolife stuff,tsunami relief - they just aren't moneymakers," said Steve.

Tammy said she plans to FedEx the campaign to the Vatican this week. "We're proud of our work, and we think the Pope will like our ideas. Plus, we live in a global community now, and after 2,000 years, we thought it was time non-Catholics like us got a say."

Striving to be a Higher Being