Writing copy for God. Why not repurpose an existing campaign?

December 5, 2008

images1Believe in something better or burn forever!

“Believe in something better,” exhorts the US Cellular campaign from Publicis & Hal Riney. My former colleague and good friend, Jamie King currently works at the agency, so this post is not meant as a critique good or bad. Yet, it got me thinking.

In my new novel, The Happy Soul Industry God hires an ad agency to market Heaven. The fictional agency comes up with a pretty good campaign, which I won’t get into here. (Read the book!) It dawns on me, however, that the US Cellular copy would do nicely as well!

Heaven. Believe in something better.

Not bad, right? One could argue it serves Heaven better than a phone company!

Come to think of it, a lot of tag lines seem like they could serve a “higher purpose” than the ones they were designed for. Off the top of my head I thought of the following:

Just do it. The most famous tag line can be in Heaven as it is on Earth. The pronoun “it” becomes even riper. Does it mean praying, sharing, doing the next right thing? God only knows.

It’s the Real Thing. Coke’s classic mantra feels cool again when discussing the unknown. Could Heaven be real? Of course it is!

Think Different. Time to stop thinking about only yourself for a change! If you’re an atheist, agnostic or just plain cynical, here’s a phrase to get you right sized again.

I’m Loving it! Oh my God does this ever work. Super size my soul, brother! Eternal life. Do you want fries with that?

Share the Good. Are you kidding me? This one is perfect. Heineken currently beseeches beer drinkers to share the good. Maybe they need a higher power instead. Hello AA.

Responsibility. What’s your policy? This ode to right thinking by Liberty Mutual lines up nicely with Heaven. The creative itself is pretty darn holy. You could run it as is, only changing the logo.

Crazy, eh? Look how many brands advertise as if they were selling God or Heaven or, at any rate, something pretty darn special. In fact, the long running “God Speaks” campaign actually pretends to be the voice of God.


Can you think of other secular advertising that would translate heavenly? Post them here.

On this blog, and in The Happy Soul Industry, I explore the relationship between good and evil in advertising. These campaigns are provocative evidence that it is a very relevant topic.


11 Responses to “Writing copy for God. Why not repurpose an existing campaign?”

  1. Assuming that most people are heathens and going to hell, perhaps heaven isn’t on top of the list, so the tagline could be borrowed from Avis for heaven:

    “We’re #2, we try harder.”

    Others that come to mind:

    “You asked for it, You got it” — from Toyota

    “Oh what a feeling?” — also Toyota

    “There is no substitute” — Porshe

    “Like a rock” — Chevy Trucks

    “Reach out and touch someone” — AT&T

    “We bring good things to life” — GE

    “Fly the friendly skies” — American (I know, ovious)

    Though, while writing these, I find that while the certainly do work as taglines for heaven, the also work pretty well for another product. Condoms.

  2. Such a bad writer… clearly (I know, ovious) after the last one was supposed to read: oBvious. So ashamed for the typo.

  3. Jserif said

    What an odd but affecting game!
    it’s as if every tag line is trying to sell heaven.
    Proof that copywriting really is about creating myths. Isn’t that one of your theories?

  4. Sarah said

    Hmm… This site is interesting for this exercise, it automatically generates taglines for whatever you put in:


    I put in “God” and got several, some are quite dumb because of the pure randomness of it, but worth a smile anyway:

    • If you can’t beat God, join God
    • The God of Champions
    • Turn Loose the God
    • God is so bracing
    • God, and on, and on…

  5. Ronan-
    The spelling typo is not as big as the branding one: “Fly the friendly skies” was United airlines tag, not American!
    Still, you’ve put out some beauties.
    Another: “Got God?”

  6. Jason Fox said

    One that works:
    You’re in good hands.

    One that’s iffy:
    The relentless pursuit of perfection.

    One that fails:
    Ancient Chinese secret, huh?*

    *Technically not a tagline, but work with me here, people.


  7. SRP said

    “You’re in good hands” totally works.
    Wow. Kind of baffling how many lines do work.
    As Serif points out, this says a lot about our myth-making ambitions.
    I wonder if any lines could sell Hell? How about “What happens in Hell, stas in Hell?” Actually, that one goes without saying…

  8. Ha! I can’t believe I messed up the brand. And I’ve worked on Continental, Delta & Emirates Airlines in my career. I guess I just can’t keep those ones I haven’t had as clients straight.

  9. sean said

    i really like robert twitchell’s stuff,

    he’s got a book called Ad Cult USA,

    i think it explores the overlap of the promised land and product promise.

  10. zach said

    how about…

    what would jesus do for a klondike bar?

  11. elijahP said

    “Is this Iowa? No, it’s heaven.”

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