Is the Mormon PR Staff Developing a Sense of Humor?

According to David Ng writing in the LATimes (6 Sep 2012), the LDS Church has purchased advertizing space in the playbill for the LA performances of “The Book of Mormon,” a profane (but upbeat) musical that pokes fun of Mormon beliefs, AIDS, and female circumcision.  Ng asks the question:  Is the LDS Church “taking the high road, or throwing down the gauntlet?”

According to Ng:

One of the ads that in the L.A. program features the face of a smiling man with the words “I’ve read the book.”  Another features a smiling woman with the words “The book is always better.”  The ads contain the URL thebookofmormon.org, which takes you to an official site for the church.

If you are worried about the church PR officials developing a sense of humor, you needn’t worry.  Michael Purdy, a spokesman for the Mormon Church issued the following statement on 7 Sept:

Patrons of the musical aren’t likely to leave the theater with a better understanding of the Book of Mormon.  Our message in the playbill invites the audience to seek a more complete perspective on the book . . . .

What idiot would go see the musical to get “a better understanding of the Book of Mormon?”  I actually don’t mind the ad in the playbill.  If we must advertize, this isn’t a bad way to do it?  But let’s work on the newsreleases.

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3 Responses to Is the Mormon PR Staff Developing a Sense of Humor?

  1. Susan says:

    I have seen the Book of Mormon on Broadway. It was highly entertaining. I question how someone could thoroughly enjoy it without having some basic knowledge of Mormonism. I think the advertising in the playbill is great. If someone attends the play and wants further information, the church is providing that opportunity. Way to go, LDS Church! It’s fun to lighten up a bit, huh?

  2. rogerdhansen says:

    According to a story in the Deseret News (7 Sep 2012): “The playbill ad is another example of the LDS Church’s savvy response to ‘The Book of Mormon’ musical,” said award-winning public relations guru Chris Thomas, co-owner of Intrepid Communications in Salt Lake City. “Instead of protesting the musical, which is something that many would do, especially religious organizations, they made a bold and deliberate decision to embrace the situation. They have taken something that could have been detrimental to the church’s missionary efforts and made it positive.”

    But if they really wanted to be bold, why didn’t they advertize in New York or Denver?

  3. roger hansen says:

    According to Danielle Paquetter writing for latimes.com (7 Sep 2012): “The church apparently approves of the show enough to buy three full page ads in the [L.A.] Playbill program each theatergoer gets: Each page is a close-up photo of an attractive young person with a quote such as “The book is always better” and a refer to thebookofmormon.org.” While I doubt that the church actually “approves,” they have apparently discovered a potential PR gold mine when they see one. I hope they also have a developing sense of humor.

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