Banning all religion pitch creates online buzz

Banning all religion pitch creates online buzz

ABC’s The Gruen Transfer and Melbourne-based creative agency Loud & Clear has drawn global online attention from religious organisations and bloggers over a segment that asked ad agencies to pitch a ban on all religion.

The Gruen Transfer host, Wil Anderson, said this is the first time in four seasons of Gruen that other agencies declined the pitch.

“No-one had a problem when we wanted to bring back child labour, invade New Zealand or euthanase everyone over 80, but this idea scared people,” said Mr Anderson.

On YouTube, the segment is the most viewed entertainment video in Australia this week with close to 200,000 views and shared across Facebook over 10,700 times.

The Gruen episode that featured the segment enjoyed its biggest ratings since its debut in 2008 with an average audience of 1.482 million.

Atheist and religious leaders have taken to blogs and forums and vented their thoughts on the controversial segment.

Atheist Foundation of Australia President David Nicholls applauded the advertisement.

“It was fun, informative and placed beliefs humans have held in perspective. We congratulate the makers for their very innovative contribution.”

Young Australian Skeptics blogger and AFA spokesperson Jason Ball suggested the Loud & Clear ad should go to air on national television.

“They’ve touched the single most damaging argument against religion — that it is man-made … Add some beautiful animation to the meme and it becomes even harder not to be convinced,” said Mr Ball.

The Rev. Dr Andrew Cameron, chairman of the Social Issues Executive, a “think tank” in the Anglican Diocese of Sydney, commented that “We’ve long known that the ABC is not a culture friendly to people of faith … [The Pitch] was simply free evangelism for the new atheism, pure and simple.”

Ben Williams, Australian Christian Lobby Chief of Staff, took a more light-hearted approach to the ad.

“ACL would disagree entirely with the content of the video. The context is that the pitch is a light-hearted segment that aims to sell the unsellable. There is no offence intended but the ad should certainly encourage us to witness to the significance of the Christian faith in the public life of our nation,” said Mr Williams.

The ad featured on popular US sites, including and, and is gaining traction in America’s comedy and liberal media circles, prompting many American bloggers to question what the response would be if the ad was screened on American TV.

Loud & Clear Director Cade Witnish said his team was surprised by the response. “Our little tongue-in-cheek pitch has sparked a lot of debate in the community and, while we’re proud of our work, we only intended the ad to be entertainment,” said Mr Witnish.

See the YouTube clip here

Or the ad here that features Jesus being punched in the face by a Neaderthal.


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