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Easter advertising campaign revives X-Files reference

24 March 2016


19 years on: posters from the ChurchAds.Net Easter advertising campaign Easter: Where do you stand?, launched on Thursday of last week

19 years on: posters from the ChurchAds.Net Easter advertising campaign Easter: Where do you stand?, launched on Thursday of last week

AN EASTER advertising campaign which debates the story of the Passion in the style of the television sci-fi series The X-Files has been launched for a second time, 19 years after the first was banned owing to copyright issues.

The advert “Easter: Where do you stand” — on television, radio, posters, and online — was released by the ecumenical network ChurchAds.Net on Thursday of last week, to coincide with the finale of the new series of The X-Files. It encourages the public to “reopen the case on Jesus Christ”, and answer the question: “Jesus: man, myth, or messiah?”

It is the first Easter campaign the group has released for more than ten years. In 1997, ChurchAds.Net attempted to launch an Easter campaign based on the original X-Files series, but the Churches' campaign had to be dropped owing to copyright issues (News, 7 March, 1997).

A spokesperson said, however, that the film, radio, and poster created for the latest campaign are “all originals”, and do not require any copyright clearance.

Its website, wheredoyoustand.co.uk, which is written in the style and typeface of The X-Files, tells the familiar story of the Passion, as well as reporting various conspiracy theories surrounding Christ’s death and resurrection.

“Some believe he planned to lead an armed militia to overthrow Caesar, while others insist that he was the son of God,” it reads. “His supporters claim he came back to life after his brutal execution, and walked among them, but his opponents say his body was stolen by his friends, and remains hidden.”

A 30-second video advert shows investigators photographing artefacts and biblical texts, before the figure of Jesus disappears from a crucifix hanging on the wall. “We should investigate this,” the detective says.

The website also contains a series of videos in which members of the public are asked three questions: Who is Jesus? What do Christians believe? What does it mean to follow Jesus?

Visitors can vote on what they believe, or Tweet their thoughts to the handle @EasterWDYS.

The chair of the campaign, Francis Goodwin, said that she hopes it will encourage "lapsed Christians to rethink their position" and others to find out more about the Easter story.

ChurchAds.Net was also behind the campaign Christmas Starts With Christ in December 2014, which was created to remind the public of the “true meaning” of Christmas.

The 45-second clip, which shows a modern family transform into Mary, Joseph, and Jesus, was banned in cinemas, however, after the Digital Cinema Media, which sells advertising space for Odeon, Vue, and Cineworld, “unanimously decided” that the advert was not suitable.

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