A Church of England backed marketing campaign scheduled for the 2012 holiday season is already raising eyebrows in the marketplace and setting off traditional Christian church-goers in the UK. The new campaign mimicks a toy advertisement showing God as a doll with the words “He cries. He wees. He saves the world.” Here is a copy of the image:
The image is to be emblazoned on bus stops, advertising hoardings and in newspapers in the weeks leading up to Christmas.
Another poster of the Godbaby carries the slogan: â€˜The Gift that Loves You Back.â€™ They come with the words â€˜not available in shopsâ€™ printed at the bottom.
ChurchAds.net says the aim of the campaign is to get a â€˜Christ-focusedâ€™ message at the heart of â€˜seasonal consumerismâ€™. Campaigns from previous years have set the Nativity in a bus shelter and featured a Jesus baby scan.
Arun Arora, the Church of Englandâ€™s communications director, said: â€˜We need to be re-telling the story of Christâ€™s birth in ways which engage creatively and positively with the publicâ€™s interest.
Godbaby is edgy and pushes the boundaries of our comfort zones and into the places where people gather.â€™
But some visitors to the website of Christian charity the Evangelical Alliance were unimpressed.
One, Ann Johnston, wrote: â€˜The baby doll is very tacky, very white and its squeaky clean appearance seems to sanitise the Biblical Nativity account completely.
â€˜I donâ€™t think my non-Christian friends and relations would be at all impressed by the ad or even understand what it was trying to achieve.â€™
On the Chrysolis Christian site one visitor, Susanna, wrote: â€˜I think this is blasphemous. Does Almighty God need us to market Him in plastic? I think not.
â€˜A certain commandment mentioning graven images springs to mind.â€™
Francis Goodwin, chairman and founder of ChurchAds.net, said: â€˜Many people within the Church are supporting it but some are against it. It has upset a few people.
â€˜But we wanted to use something that would be talked about in the pub, at toddler groups and in the home. We wanted the campaign to have an impact and we will not be changing it.â€™