Rumours have begun swirling again that The Church of Scientology has booked a big ad during this year’s Super Bowl. Just like previous years, we can be fairly certain that it hasn’t — at least not one of the big money $US4.5 million national ad slots.
As Tony Ortega, a former Village Voice editor who runs a website devoted to investigating Scientology explains, people have begun noticing that the Church has been running TV ads during a number of prominent shows in recent weeks such as The Ellen Degeneres Show, a broadcast of The View and in one of the NFL playoff games this weekend.
It has used this tactic over the past few years in the lead up to the big game. During the Super Bowl itself, people in several cities notice that the Scientology ad has also been broadcast at some point in the proceedings.
Each time, The Church of Scientology hasn’t actually forked out the mega bucks required to run a national 30-second ad, but has instead opted for far cheaper local advertising during commercial breaks reserved for regional advertisers and local channel advertisers.
In 2013 it bought up airtime in major spot markets like New York and Los Angeles, thus many people in metro areas believed they had seen an official Super Bowl ad for Scientology (which would imply some sort of endorsement from the NFL or the broadcaster, which last year was FOX.) Ortega quotes an expert that estimates this tactic would only cost in the region of about “$US1 million,” less than a quarter of the amount it would cost for an official placement this year on NBC.
This appears to be the ad The Church of Scientology is gearing up to show during the Super Bowl this year:
At more than 2-minutes long it’s likely to be edited down, but the main crux of the spot is to explain how Scientology helps people, claiming the Church has helped “4 million people lead lives without drugs” and is “enabling 43 million students to better their education.”
Business Insider has contacted The Church of Scientology for confirmation and comment. This article will be updated when a response has been received. NBC, which is airing Super Bowl XLIX does not comment on individual clients’ bookings.
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