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And The Oscar Goes To... The United Church of Christ

Ok so not exactly the Oscar... though big time in the advertising industry. We all remember the "controversial" ad that was that was banned by NBC, CBS and UPN. The commercial, produced last year for the United Church of Christ, was intended to attract gays and others who feel alienated by other denominations - be it race, sexual orientation, etc.

The 30-second spot features two muscle-bound "bouncers" standing guard outside a picturesque church and selecting which persons are permitted to attend Sunday services. Written text interrupts the scene, announcing, "Jesus didn't turn people away. Neither do we." A narrator then proclaims the United Church of Christ's commitment that: "No matter who you are, or where you are on life's journey, you are welcome here."

CBS told the denomination that because the ad implies the acceptance of gay and lesbian couples it violated network standards. Viacom, which owns CBS also owns UPN. NBC declared the spot "too controversial." The ad also was refused by ABC.

A number of privately owned stations, some affiliated with the networks, aired the commercials anyway. I remember seeing it here in Portland during that time. Not sure what stations it was on though.

via UCC:

The UCC's "bouncer" television commercial, which aired nationally in December 2004 and March 2005, has received one of the advertising industry's most significant honors.

The Association of National Advertisers awarded the United Church of Christ with its 2005 Multicultural Excellence Award for its 30-second commercial that touted the denomination's insistence that "Jesus didn't turn people away. Neither do we."

[Something many churches and individuals have seemed to abandon]

"This is a biggie," exclaimed Marilyn Dubasak, project manager for the UCC's Stillspeaking Initiative.

Besting advertisements by award finalists MasterCard and Microsoft, the UCC was presented the award on Nov. 8 at ANA's multicultural advertising conference in Miami, Fla.

"I have been in the business for 26 years and you don't have too many moments like this," said Michael Jordan, creative director for Gotham, Inc., the UCC's New York-based advertising firm that has helped produce the denomination's commercials.

Ron Buford, coordinator and team leader for The Stillspeaking Initiative, received the award on behalf of the church.

"The church has been given this multicultural excellence award because we didn't take the brand and make it multicultural, we took multicultural and made it a brand," Buford told United Church News. "This is the essence of non-conformity with the world."

The ANA's recognition is significant, Buford emphasized, not only because ANA's members include the biggest names in advertising - such as Coke and General Motors - but also because the award's multicultural emphasis gives hope and credence to the kind of multicultural church that the UCC claims and wants to be.


The ANA prize is the third significant recognition in 2005 for the UCC's bouncer spot which also received a New York Addy Award for best single national spot as well as the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation's outstanding advertising award.

Posted by Bryan Harding

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By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4/14/06 5:23 PM

For those who may not have seen it yet, please go to www.heretv.com or


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