Bums on pews in Britain’s churches may not be as plentiful as they
used to be. But nobody should underestimate the public outrage that can
still be generated by advertising that appears to mock the Christian
That’s exactly what the Paramount Comedy Channel has done with its
insensitive substitution of a donkey’s head for Christ’s face in a
parody of the Turin Shroud.
There’s nothing wrong with shock advertising when the reasons and the
timing are right. Indeed, the Church has not been averse to using it -
remember ’bad hair day’? But while the public doesn’t mind being shocked
for honourable motives, it minds very much when the purpose is merely to
promote a comedy series re-run.
For the Comedy Channel to claim it never expected such a reaction is
If it really believes what it says, it is crass. If it is merely using
advertising to attract notoriety, then it is helping deliver the
industry into the hands of those who would legislate to control it.