Taking a page from the Mormons’ good book (to strain a metaphor to unholy lengths), the Church of Scientology has released the two-minute, feel-good, self-promotional spot below, using kinetic typography to cast itself as a global do-gooder and supporter of healthcare, education, social justice and human rights. That’s quite a contrast to recent scathing reports in The New Yorker and RadarOnline portraying some of the church’s activities as less than godlike. The accusations include physical abuse and coverups and make for salacious, riveting reading. The Scientology spot, in contrast, lacks inspiration, divine or otherwise. First off, the tagline, “Our help is yours,” makes it sound like you can borrow Tom Cruise’s maid when the need arises. Beyond that, it’s dull and dismissible—not even as compelling as the church’s mediocre 2009 spots. Given the star power in the Scientology camp, appeals from Cruise or John Travolta would’ve vaulted the effort into viral overdrive. Instead, we get an unglamorous, text-heavy clip jammed with facts and figures. It feels like it was created in 45 minutes on a PC. And I’m pretty sure that irritating smiley-pop soundtrack isn’t Beck. Last year’s pro-Mormon push seems warm and human by comparison, with actual members of the Mormon church trying to act like normal folks. (They live in Utah. Voluntarily. That’s normal?) As for Scientology, there are plusses and minuses. There’s a party-pooping one-wife limit, but at least you can take an aspirin if she gives you a headache.
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