When a canvassing Jehovah's Witness stealthily slipped a pamphlet under my girlfriend's door recently, I saw it as a sign from God—a sign to critically examine the marketing prowess of the J-Dubs.
I know zilch about the Bible or religions. I do, however, know bullshit. I've created somewhere north of a 100 bullshit-filled brochures hawking everything from spice-infused vodka to urine analysis machines.
In the style of Ad Age's Bob Garfield, the senior windbag amongst the laughable field of "ad critics," I will give the Watchtower pamphlet a star rating of between 0-4.
The cover of any brochure is critical. As Bill Bernbach (the "B" of DDB), the Father of creative advertising, supposedly said: "If nobody notices your ad, everything else is academic."
The headline is somewhat provocative. But the exclamation point screams "cheesy zealotry." The sans-serif typeface sets the right tone, but the line fights with the predictable lightning visual. Two possible fixes: either make the headline honking huge, or go with a tiny headline and find a much scarier lightning stock photo.
The inside spread design? Ugh. Way to copy-heavy. The left panel lays out the three parts of false religion: 1) "meddles in war & politics"; 2) "spreads false doctrine" (duh); and 3) "tolerates immoral sex." Next to this subhead, they feature this pic of a priest having his dick sucked.
I would have gone with a more graphic depiction—shots easily available on the web.
The right panel finally gets to the meat—the supposed imminent end of false religion. The harlot below represents false religion, and the lamely drawn seven-headed, ten-horned beast represents the world's political powers. "Soon" the J-Dubs claim, quoting Revelation, the beast will "make her devastated and naked, and will eat her fleshy parts and will completely burn her with fire..."
They completely lost me there, but I strongly suggest more violence and nudity. And either do a photo shoot, or hire a top-notch illustrator not some guy's brother.
On the way-too-busy back page, The Witnesses blandly and unconvincingly present their case that they are the one true religion. But no matter. They've already lost a conversion. (*) One star.
94 years ago, liar H.K. McCann launched his NYC ad agency with the slogan "Truth Well Told." That was a Big Fat Lie. Advertising copywriter copyranter brings you instances of Ad Lies and the Lying Liars who sell them.