You weren't the only one confused by the Church of Scientology's halftime Super Bowl ad. The spot initially looked less like recruitment for the organization and more like a spot for a sun-drenched resort somewhere in the Caribbean. Then the voice-over began.
"Imagine science. And religion. Connecting," a dramatic voice intoned as we all recovered from the colorful dance party that was Bruno Mars's halftime show. "Imagine technology and spirituality combining." Imagine seeing a tranquil advertisement for religion during one of the most rambunctious nights of the year. At least Scientology didn't totally shun the Super Bowl's signature excess: For the minute-long spot, the estimated cost for a Super Bowl ad is $8 million.
Unlike other religious organizations, there's little doubt that the Church of Scientology has enough in its coffers to cover the cost of a Super Bowl ad many times over. In fact, it's the second time Scientology has bought an ad during the biggest game of the year. For that much dough, the ad itself doesn't seem that exciting. Tranquil music and that intense voiceover play over what look like stock footage clips of sunny weather and calm people.
"Scientology," the ad concludes. "There are other states of existence." It sounds just like any cheesy self-help seminar. But for those who know anything about Scientology, that promise can be understood quite literally. Maybe that's the key to good advertising.