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