Scientology Ads

The L.A. Times reports on the newest batch of glossy, slick commercials for the Scientology corporation.  The business section of the paper looks at the business angle of Scientology.

The Church of Scientology has had a bad couple of years, PR-wise. You could start the damage-control clock running in January 2008 with the release of the Scientology indoctrination video featuring Tom Cruise — you know, black turtleneck, eyes spinning — claiming that Scientologists are the only ones who could really help at an accident scene. This summer the church was tried for fraud in France. In May, Wikipedia said it would ban entries originating from Scientology IP addresses on account of the church’s self-serving wiki-revisionism. And last month the St. Petersburg Times published a devastating four-part expose of Scientology’s tiny tyrant David Miscavige, based on testimony from four former high-ranking executives in the church.

Then there was last week’s Katie Holmes “homage” to Judy Garland on “Dancing With the Stars.” Talk about the scene of an accident

All of which has left the church with a smoldering crater where its public image ought to be. And yet, the church didn’t get to be La-La Land’s Holy See for nothing. In May the church launched a series of new commercials, and they are nothing short of brilliant. Sleek, chill and nonthreatening, these ads are visually beautiful, with a kind of tonal waveform of celestial bliss that invites fellow questers on a journey of self-discovery. “Scientology: Know yourself. Know life,” the tag line runs. Well, who wouldn’t want a piece of that?

The pleasure of these ads derives from their glossy cinematic execution, of course — the cerulean monotones, the exquisite jib camera work, the husky, hunky voice-over, the tranquil soundtrack (think U2 jamming with Vangelis).

But it also must be noted that, finally and surprisingly, the church with the greatest affinity for and proximity to Hollywood has finally turned up a decent branding spot. I mean, these are the people of the exploding volcano.

If these spots were produced in-house, somebody’s thetan deserves a case of beer or something.

Read the full article.

UPDATE:

Jim Bailey’s tribute to Judy Garland is a much better recreation of the original number.

Explore posts in the same categories: Cruise News, Newspaper

20 Comments on “Scientology Ads”

  1. Dissenting Voice Says:

    Scientology is like a meta-celebrity. Half the fun is watching the ongoing catastrophe. Sadly, Scientology can’t snuff itself from a catatonic drug binge like celebrites can – or like L. Ron did.

  2. Artoo45 Says:

    That was pretty much a perfect summation of the recent Scilon ad campaign . . . almost. Perfection would have meant that the fact-checkers at the LAT would have noted that Katie Holmes anemic “walk and pose” routine was on So You Think You Can Dance, not Dancing With The Stars. Picky? Perhaps, but when you criticize the cult, you’d better have your ducks in a row. They’ll jump on any slight mistake and claim that it invalidates the rest of your argument if you can’t even get that right.

    I wonder if there is any cult connection to Dizzy Feet (besides Holmes). It would be a shame, since it seems like a great charity, but Scientology is a master of the front organization.

  3. Robo08 Says:

    Being from overseas – what was the thing with the Katie Holmes dance? Didn’t seem that bad to me…

  4. Cornelius Says:

    Nigel Lythgoe (judge and executive producer) was/is dating Priscilla Presley (Scilon). When ordinary SYTYCD (So you think you can dance) fans responded in an uproar that her routine, being lip-synched, taped and edited, and more “stepping around” than dance, it was insulting to the spirit of the show which features very talented amateur and semi-pro dancers.

    Lythgoe responded that people were being “haters.” She was an A-list (!) star who was generously donating her time to the Dizzy Feet scholarship, blah blah.

    The problem was in the build up and hype to her appearance. They kept saying Katie was going to be spectacular! That she’s this phenomenal talent, when clearly, she isn’t. Instead, as many critics noted, it was something you could see in most high schools, especially her dancing. It is seriously average. High school show choir average.

    I was pleasantly surprised by her voice, but compared to Judy’s, it is nothing, and I mean nothing. Ditto for her presence. She looks detached, not in real command of the performance.

    Also, when Lythgoe makes criticisms of the amateur dancers, he will say their performance was routine, like a dance recital, just doing the choreography. That’s the way Katie’s was. Nothing special at all.

    Garland, even with her Judy-tics, played it cool but with a kind of energy. I can see that it might be hard for the first time younger viewer to see anything special in this performance though.

    Aside from that, I think the old choreography, what the background guys were doing especially, was much better in the Judy production. It was just plain clever. Of course, that wasn’t Katie’s fault.

    It would have been another thing, if she had appeared live, and sung and danced the number, just as any Broadway star would have done, like Hugh Jackman. Instead, they just showed this highly edited production piece.

    They couldn’t risk having this wife-of-Cruise, make a slip, and her singing probably would have stunk. There is so much you can do with a vocal track, changing out-of-tune notes and enhancing the sound quality etc.

    Before Katie married Tom Cruise, I had never heard of her. Except for fans of Dawson’s Creek, I don’t think many people had. So, most people see this as a some kind of PR stunt for Katie.

    The spectacle and drama here, isn’t the birth of a fabulously talented new star, it is about the attempt to turn Katie into a Scilon zombie, and get her from B-actress to star, just because she’s Tom Cruise’s new zombie wife.

    Kidman is a better actor than Cruise. They have their work cut out for them with Katie.

  5. Eric Says:

    I saw a scientology commercial of a Fox channel, I was stunned that it is being allowed, is there nothing money cannot buy these days? How about some commercials for the next comet worshiping, suicidal cult that comes along too then.

  6. Robo08 Says:

    Cornelius – Thanks for that in-depth reply. Was there a big medai buzz about this in the States?

  7. Artoo45 Says:

    So, ol’ Nigel dated Priscilla Queen of the Thetans. That’s another connection to the cult for SYTYCD. |:[ Of course, he’d defend her performance since they used to do the horizontal mambo, and the number was ostensibly “for charity”. Only problem is Katie’s floundering career seems to be the charity. As Cornelius so astutely put it

    The spectacle and drama here, isn’t the birth of a fabulously talented new star, it is about the attempt to turn Katie into a Scilon zombie, and get her from B-actress to star, just because she’s Tom Cruise’s new zombie wife.

    The bad news for me is that the cult may be contaminating a program that brings a level of dance heretofore unknown on network TV. The good news is that cult is having a very bad century so far.

  8. Watson Says:

    Actually, Scientology can’t get mentioned in press anymore without the strong emphasis on how loony they all are, how much they fail or how much controversy there is around them… even when the article is about their PR rating going up!

    Finally, the press have a pale green light to actually criticize Scientology… Hopefully, the green light will shine brighter and brighter as time passes, but I can’t say this pleases me too :)

  9. Cornelius Says:

    I agree Watson. I think any journalist, and many radio and TV hosts, who ever did a piece on Scientology, read the SP Times expose on Slappy Miscavige.

    Paulette Cooper became iconic in their profession, as the woman Scientology tried to drive to her death.

    @Robo08

    The media buzz before: Show talking up Katie’s special guest appearance as big event. And probably ET Tonight and other entertainment shows talking about it.

    The media buzz after: Many fans of the show were disgusted. Critics divided, with half saying it was pretty bad, and half saying it was entertaining.

  10. XenuSitsDown2Pee Says:

    Katie’s dancing wasn’t too bad, she’s smoking hot too. I hope she gets herself out of the cult of $cientology someday.

  11. Martin Says:

    So glad you added the original, god she was poor. Which isn’t her fault but it was highly entertaining.

  12. Jon Vederman Says:

    After seeing the two side by side like that, Judie is in another class. Amazing performance.

    Katie’s was so so. I would say newbie looking to get on Broadway so so. She didn’t really dance and she certainly didn’t have that casual sparkle Judie did.

    But that’s just my opinion.

    I am glad to see homage to these great performers. Hopefully it will inspire some of the current crop of actors to actually do a good job instead of the drivel Hollywood seems only capable of putting out recently. The US has had some great performers/performances and a revival of that standard would be great.

  13. Ironhead Says:

    In my experiance when it comes to live musical theatre, you have 2 types of performers going on stage, Dancers who either can’t sing at all or can sing a little bit, or singers who can’t dance or who can dance a little bit. Katie seems to be the latter, or at least that’s what they were trying to pass her off as.

    it’s not uncommon in live performances for singers to use a “sick track” a prerecorded track they will lip-sinc to if they’re having trouble with their voice, of course they made no attempt to disguise this with Katie as she wasn’t even wearing a headset mic.

    The performance was what it was, not bad IMHO. I think Katie was probably happy to get out there and perform, (something we havn’t seen too much of since she tied the Knot with TC). But there did seem to be a lack of fluidity, in that they seemed to want to “over perfect” her performance. not a hair out of place, not a drop of sweat, not a step missed….me no likey. I think most fans of this genre want to see a performer out there in the trenches wowing us, knowing at any given moment a mistake could take place, possibly ruining the performance, unless there’s an amazing recovery of course. it is Katies unwillingness to take risks in her performance that has drawn criticism.

  14. idletalk Says:

    New AD’S….foooking superb!!!! Real fresh and up-to-date!!!!

  15. Hippo Says:

    If I may add a comment to Robo’s question:

    Katie’s performance was hyped for weeks in advance as if it was the Second Coming.

    The disconnect between the level of hype and her actual lukewarm performance is the problem.

    I believe the phrases “A-list” and “Oscar-worthy” were used.

  16. Aussie Diva Says:

    Oh dear. Ms Holmes is NO Judy. Ms Garland had more talent in HALF of her pocket-sized,4 foot 11 body than Ms Holmes has in all her six foot glory.She stomps around like she’s killing cochroaches and sings like a teen crooning along with Britney on the radio. Awful.
    Also,how ironic is it that a Scientologist is singing lyrics alluding to a Christian vision of ‘Judgement Day’? Judy’s classy confident delivery of the lyric is much more appropriate than Katie’s sex kitten act. Singing about a God you don’t believe in while wiggling suggestively is just…weird.
    As the kids say,Epic Fail. Ms Holmes is a sweet,lively film presence,best suited to farce or romantic comedy,but a Broadway star she is not.
    Also,what was with the ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ set? Did they get their classic movies mixed up or something?
    Keep up the great work,Mark. With each video you make,CO$ moves closer to its death knell.

  17. XENU TV Says:

    Thanks. Be sure to come over to http://www.xenutv.com. That’s where all the newest posts and videos will be.

  18. Aussie Diva Says:

    I forgot to add,Wise Beard Man,as a performer in musical theatre,I thought you might enjoy this REAL bravura performance of the same song:

    Now THAT is a tribute!Why is this guy not more famous? He does ‘em all-Peggy Lee,Babs Streisand,Phyllis Diller. As the COS like to discuss ‘crimes’, I think it’s a crime he’s not a superstar. What do you think,Mark?

  19. XENU TV Says:

    I’d forgotten all about Jim Bailey. He used to be on TV all the time. Thanks.


  20. Fuck!

    What ISN’T A CULT!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    But as long as you feel like you’re actually doing some then that’s quite alright.

    Otherwise – why do you even care about Scientology?

    There are actually real problems in the world that you might be of more interest.

    But, because Anonymous are fucking cowards, they go for the easy prey.

    And thanks again for fucking things up for every one else who really needs to be anonymous.

    A BIG FUCK YOU TO ANONYMOUS!!!

    I’m not with Scientology but I’m also not with a far worst criminal organization called the Catholic Church.

    You want to do something there it is pal!!!!

    Otherwise your 15 year shit retards that feel sorry because mommy didn’t get the latest and greatest piece-o-shit video game


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