Diana tragedy spurs churches campaign

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 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

Easter 1999.



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

Bayfield.



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.’