Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Church Equals State?

No, not really.

As revealed in the Indy Blog earlier today, the enigmatically provocative campaign was for Citizens Project, a Colorado Springs-based nonprofit dedicated to "defending equality, religious freedom and respect for diversity."

(In the interest of full disclosure, my agency HHR Creative created the campaign.)

During the two-and-a-half weeks tease period, we had over 5,800 site hits at Church Equals State, Freedom from Expression, Create Isolation and Celebrate Conformity. And we've had nearly 350 people sign up for the email updates, including a few with memorable addresses:
  • TheLeftisPrejudicedAgainstReligion@yahoo.com
  • ThisSiteisforBigots@ReligiousZealots.com
  • ThisisWhy@YourCityisBroke.com
The copy on the teaser sites was written in an ambiguous manner that was very open to interpretation. Depending on one's preexisting biases, the boards could either represent everything that was good about Colorado Springs, or reinforce the existing negative stereotypes about our fair city.

This is the copy from the Church Equals State teaser site:

Imagine a world where school prayer was mandatory.

Where intelligent design was taught instead of evolution.

And where discrimination against homosexuals and other minority groups was perfectly acceptable.

Right now, people in our community are working to make this dream a reality. If you’d like to know more, join our email list today.

Today, the copy changed to reveal Citizens Project, explain its mission and invite people to help make Colorado Springs a place we can all be proud to call home.

Here's a taste of the new message:

Scary, isn’t it?

Well, that’s exactly what Colorado Springs could look like if not for the tireless efforts of Citizens Project. Since 1992, we’ve been working to protect your rights – and the rights of every person in Colorado Springs – by promoting TRUE American values: diversity, equality and religious freedom, including separation of church and state.

If you want to make Colorado Springs a better place for ALL people, you’re not alone. Find out how you can help at the Citizens Project website today. Together, we can make our city a place where church and state are kept apart, and a place everyone is proud to call home.

From the initial tease (messages appeared on billoards, bus shelters, bus sides, online, in newspapers and on TV) to the reveal, the campaign was designed with one specific goal in mind: to get people talking.

And it certainly did.

P.S. Citizens Project plans to keep the conversation going through a series of informal get-to-know-your-neighbors gatherings, online polls and a community breakfast later this year.

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