One of the many troubles with religion comes from a predilection towards taking it too seriously. People take sports a bit too seriously as well but advertising during a major sporting event like the Super Bowl tends to be a very big business. I’ve never watched a minute of any game, myself, but I’ve heard stories about how fantastic some of the advertisements wind up being.
Doritos and Pepsi have had a “Crash the Superbowl” contest running years where people can submit their own ads for these products. Personally, I’m glad this Doritos ad has kicked up too much of a fuss to be considered a contest contender. If churches offered Doritos for Eucharist, they probably would have more butts in seats and therefore more money in their collection plates…
Feed the Flock begins with a priest (maybe Catholic, maybe Anglican or Episcopal) at his desk surrounded by bills for the parish, which clearly needs more income in the collection plate (why else show the stack of bills?).
Since it’s his job to offer spiritual food to the flock, he takes it to another level (the pits, I’d say). The video shows the faithful lining up for Communion and getting Doritos (in two flavors, no less) instead of the wafer (which Catholics believe is the body of Christ and others see as symbolic of Christ). And, you guessed it, the wine, considered by Catholics to be the blood of Christ, is dished out as Pepsi MAX.
You don’t have to be Catholic or Episcopalian to find this irredeemably offensive.
The article writer refused to embed the video and the links I did find for it weren’t working anymore but a quick trip to YouTube netted me a behind the scenes film of making the commercial, which gave me a few giggles and the gist as well:
That article offers a link to Mashable Business quoting Dave Williams, president of MediaWave, and his apology. He claims the intent was “to win, not to offend.” Well, as Williams and company discovered, religious beliefs are nothing to play around with, not even to sell Doritos.
After Media Wave submitted the ad in early November, a number of Catholic groups, including one called America Needs Fatima, took issue with the ad, which the group believed mocks the Holy Eucharist. That group started an online petition to ask Pepsi to reject the ad.
Pepsi eventually did. When the 10 finalists for the contest were chosen on January 3, the ad, called “Feed Your Flock,” was not among them. Pepsi rep Lindsay Anthony apologizes to anyone who had taken offense. “The video was not created by Doritos or Pepsi MAX and was one of over 5,600 entries we received,” says Anthony. “With such a significant number of submissions, you get a pretty wide range of concepts.
Especially with a million dollar prize on the line. Back to the USA Today article for this bit:
What’s surprising is that it made it up on the Pepsi site for consideration at all. Were there no standards for submission?
A clever and funny idea is what it was and it’s too bad that these groups couldn’t just shrug it off as nonsense. It didn’t have to become news.