Freedom Is Slavery

March 15, 2011

The following is Scientology’s very slick commercial titled, “An Invitation to Freedom,” that apparently aired during the most recent episode of American Idol:

Just think. You too can look this happy and free.

Thanks for the invite, Scientology, but I must respectfully decline.

Of course a more accurate commercial might go something like this:  “Tired of thinking for yourself and doing what you want? Want to perform back-breaking work for $50 a week? Can’t find holier than thou assholes to publicly beat the shit out of you and humiliate you on a regular basis? What to detail Tom Cruise’s various motorcycles for free? Want to cut off all communication with your family and friends? Want to lie to yourself and others every second of every day? THEN JOIN SCIENTOLOGY!”

Fortunately, now that the internet exists and Scientology’s cult nature has become common knowledge, even the slickest commercial is likely to bring about many new converts…especially after the recent New Yorker expose.

I will say this though. Atheist organizations can learn a lot from Scientology’s marketing department. I would love to see an atheist commercial that captures a similar kind of feel as this Scientology ad.

 

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Dear Scientology, thanks for the invitation but I must regretfully decline

September 21, 2010

As I posted last week, Jeff Hawkin’s, the the ex-$cientologist responsible for $cientology’s marketing in the 80s and their volcano commercial from the 90’s, has just published a book criticizing the cult. But while Hawkins was actually quite good at his job, it seems the latest crop of in-house $cientology marketers seem to suck at it.

The cult is back with a new commercial where they promise immortality and tell viewers they “are invited. Well another former marketing chief for the organization, Steve Hall.thinks he knows why these commercials will fail to win more converts:

The challenge of trying to market Dianetics and Scientology is probably one of the most difficult assignments in the world. They are not thought of well. There’s a lot of suspicion and controversy. Most of that is generated from within because of the way the leader of the church has dealt with people, such as issues to do with internet copyright. They do a lot of lawsuits. They run full-page ads in USA Today attacking Eli Lilly (LLY) [which makes antidepressants, which Scientology opposes]. It makes people stand back. Time magazine wrote them up as a “mafia-like” organization. How do you create a want for that? It’s an almost impossible challenge.

And when the cult’s secrecy was mentioned as an obstacle, Hall responded:

It’s not deliberate. It’s just inept marketing. I think they don’t have a clue what they are doing. I’ve worked at the top ranks of management, shoulder to shoulder. They all worry constantly about the big problem that nobody understands them. But for other reasons they have not been effective at all at communicating what they do, what their beliefs are and so forth. They’re not deliberately keeping it a secret. It’s a more simple problem than that. A lot of organizations that do their own in-house marketing, they eat the product, breathe the product, 24/7, and they lose their objectivity and they don’t know how to connect with people outside. Compounding that, [founder L. Ron] Hubbard wrote in the 1970s and ’80s a few policies on how the church was to do their marketing. There’s nothing wrong with what he wrote, but that marketing know-how is circa 1975. As any creative person knows, marketing has grown by light years since 1975. By today’s standards those methods are terrible.

So thanks for the invitation, $cientology, but no thanks.

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Another Ex-Scientologist blows the whistle

September 9, 2010

Jefferson Hawkins joined $cientology in 1967. And he defected in 2003. And as you can imagine, that 40 years has given him quite a story to tell. And now he’s telling it in his new book, Counterfeit Dreams. And Hawkins wasn’t just anyone. He was the one who came up with the idea for the Dianetics “volcano” commercial among others, and ironically played a major role in a resurgence of the book’s popularity in the 1980s.

And now, like so many high-ranking $cientologists who actively played a major role in the cult’s PR, he’s coming forward and exposing the deception he himself was a part of. He also says that despite the cult’s insistence that they’ve got millions of followers around the world, the number of active members is probably closer to 50,000.

Let’s help make Counterfeit Dreams more successful than Dianetics ever was.

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