Apocalypse: The Creative Brief


We’re still here.

Just wanted to let you know, since I haven’t posted in a few days.

So yeah–no apocalyptic disasters, no doomsday scenarios, no flying off to heaven yesterday. No mythic figures in flowing white robes, unless you count my stepfather coming out of the shower.

We did allow the kids three whole turns on the carousel at Bear Mountain. Which, I suppose when you’re five, is some version of heaven.

I keep thinking about the creative brief for the Rapture ad campaign, ever since Stephanie Smirnov wondered what it would look like.

CLIENT: Family Radio Inc. Christian Radio Network
ASSIGNMENT: Create an unbranded campaign to promote the Rapture on May 21, 2011. Drive people to www.familyradio.com and to unbranded website wecannow.com; solicit donations without actually asking for the; stir up the crazy.
MEDIUM: Out of home (billboards, bus sides, guerilla); radio (:30, :60); consider social media opportunities
SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT MESSAGE: The rapture is coming May 21, please visit our website for more information
CONSUMER INSIGHT: Our audience is low-income, highly religious, easily persuaded, and most likely depressed. They watch Fox News and consider Miracle Whip a food group. They have probably been hit hard by the recession and are looking for excuses to sell their homes and Hummel figurine collections anyway. They do not watch the Daily Show. They watched the Simpsons once, in the dark, when their parents thought they were asleep. 
TONE: Think the bad guys from every Scooby Doo episode. 
The number five equals “atonement”, the number ten equals “completeness”, and the number seventeen equals “heaven.” Also, the number ten equals “metric system” and the number sixty-nine equals “crazy sexy time.” These need not be included in messaging.
BUDGET: $100,000,000 in media. About four cents in production.

Ad humor. /Rimshot.

I spent weeks making fun of these people, but I have to admit, today I feel kind of sad for them. This morning, I got to wake up to a big bush of fuschia azaleas in perfect bloom out the window at my mother’s house, and marvel at the beauty of the world. I get to sneak a bit of the perfect French almond croissant Nate brought me from the city. I get sit in the audience with my family and hold back the tears as Thalia’s flits on stage at her very first ballet recital. Surely there will be ice cream to follow.

A whole group of other people woke up thinking, none of that is enough.


15 thoughts on “Apocalypse: The Creative Brief”

  1. I just love this. Such an amazing way to bring a perspective that is so hard to capture. Bravo. I remember watching “Jesus Camp” – (wow) and I have this morbid attraction and awe toward these types of “belief systems” – possibly because in many ways they seem much more unbelievable to me than the natural disasters I see on television. Really.

  2. Excuse me, but I did some of my own Bible math, and I'm pretty sure that “Rapture”= Almond Croissants galore.

  3. I'm waking up on the 9th balcony overlooking the gorgeously blue ocean and get to spend another day in paradise. If someone had tried to come and “rapture” me from this place yesterday, I would've been pissed.

    And, Liz, I love how you summed this up. This guy who did this has convinced people to squander their life savings all over nothing. It's like a spiritual Enron.

  4. “and the number sixty-nine equals 'crazy sexy time.'” LOVE!!!! Thank God the world didn't end today. I've put too much effort into this damned move to New York.

  5. I love the poignant aspect to your post. It's so easy to ridicule these folks, but there is a sadness to the whole thing that makes simple mockery seem rather mean and unoriginal. (Not to say I didn't enjoy the brief – I just really liked the balance you brought to the topic)

  6. Ah, Liz, once again you have proven that you are so much kinder than I am. I woke up wishing those people had been taken somewhere away from the rest of us, beamed up to some heaven that I would've found hellish if I'd had to share it with the likes of them.

    I woke up reminded how utterly pathetic so much of humanity is. I woke up thinking that if more people would accept that THIS IS ALL WE GET, that there's no rapture, no 75 million virgins waiting for jihadists…, no do-overs or second chances, then maybe people would be kinder to themselves, each other, and this earth that they seem so eager to leave.

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