The slogan 'Como Dios manda' (a double entendre which means formally 'As God commands' or as an idiomatic expression 'The way it should be') sought to persuade a nation where priests were once paid as civil servants that the Church is now just another charity that has to finance its activities through its members.
The campaign, created by a consortium of ad executives and creatives who worked for free under the auspices of the Communicacion Committee of the Archdiocese of Madrid, was creative and aggressive. Television and radio spots, print ads, billboards and telephone booth posters carry such slogans as 'The way it should be'; 'We work wonders'; 'Thank heaven and reduce taxes'; and 'Separate your assets,' a play on the growing trend among Spain's married couples to keep their assets separate.
The campaign was well received - and controversial - from the start. While several media gave it free time, discounts or free pages, two television stations, privately run Tele 5 and state-run Television Espanola, initially refused to run the campaign. Both changed their positions.
Unfortunately for the church, the campaign broke during a tough time for charities. Other Spanish institutions capitalized on the Christmas season to launch charity efforts for famine victims in Somalia, war victims in Bosnia Herzegovina, and Spain's indigents. A church spokesperson said that the campaign was nevertheless achieving its objectives.
Luis Palacio covers advertising from Madrid.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)