The outpouring of public grief over the death of Diana, Princess of
Wales is being harnessed by Britain’s churches in an Easter campaign
which draws on their role in helping people come to terms with spiritual
questions raised by such tragedies.
The 48-sheet poster forming the centrepiece of the advertising recreates
a floral ’shrine’ similar to those which have become common in the wake
of disasters such as the Princess’s fatal accident.
It carries the message: ’If all this started you thinking, carry it on
at church this Easter.’
The latest initiative is likely to be the precursor of a heavier
advertising presence by the inter-denominational Churches Advertising
Network, which has been given funding by the Jerusalem Trust, a
charitable organisation established by the Sainsbury family as
’seedcorn’ money for experimental TV advertising at Christmas and for
Churchmen feared they might attract criticism that they were exploiting
the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. ’It only needed one well-known
person to come out against it and we would have been dead in the water,’
the Rev. Robert Ellis, one of the campaign organisers, said. ’But it
seems to have been well received.’
None of the flowers featured on the poster came from an actual ’shrine’
and were donated to hospitals and hospices after the shoot.
’We didn’t want to be seen to be cashing in,’ said Martin Casson, who
produced the poster along with his fellow M&C Saatchi creatives, Nick
Drummond and Trevor Webb, and the HHCL & Partners writer, Chas
The campaign is aimed at a downmarket audience whose experience of
church is limited to weddings, baptisms and funerals.
Casson said: ’We were given the brief only two months after Princess
Diana’s death and at a time when it seemed appropriate to tap into the
national emotional mood. It would not have been right for Christmas but
it does fit Easter, which celebrates a death and a resurrection.’