Perhaps you’ve enjoyed the recent run of advertising duels between some of America’s biggest brands — Mac v. PC, Dunkin’ Donuts v. Starbucks. Burger King v. McWorld.
And now, coming to the broad side of a bus near you, God vs. No God.
Last month, the American Humanist Association bought $40,000 worth of space on 200 Washington D.C. Metro buses for this ad: “Why believe in a god? Just be good for goodness’ sake.” The humanists were copying a similar bus ad campaign by atheists in Britain.
Not wanting to be left behind, the Center for Family Development, a Catholic-based nonprofit in Maryland, is trying to raise $14,000 to run a bus ad campaign with this message: “Why Believe? Because I created you and I love you, for goodness’ sake.” The ad includes an image from Michelangelo’s “The Creation of Adam.”
And a group called Pennsylvania Friends of Christ plans to buy ads for 10 Metro buses to send this message into the streets of the nation’s capital: “Believe in God. Christ is Christmas for goodness’ sake”.
So far, it’s a light-hearted joust, but other believers are getting involved.
In Florida, American Muslims have started a bus ad campaign of their own. Late last month, 120 public transit buses in Dade and Broward counties started carrying this message: Islam: The Message of Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad. The ads include an 888 number for more information about Islam.
In the competitive and often combative realm of personal belief, there’s a lot to be said for the gentle and nonviolent art of persuasion.
On the other hand, maybe Will Rogers summed it up best when he said, “If advertisers spent the same amount of money on improving their products as they do on advertising then they wouldn’t have to advertise them.”