Voices from Russia

Thursday, 29 January 2009

Russian Businessman Funds Pro-God Ad Campaign on London Buses


On Thursday, a Russian TV producer said on he was launching a “There is God” advertising campaign in London to counter atheist posters displayed on buses in January. Posters reading, “There is God. Don’t Worry. Enjoy your life!” will appear on London buses in March, said Aleksandr Korobko, the head of the London-based Russian Hour satellite TV channel. A campaign organised by the British Humanist Association (BHA), which has raised 140,000 UK pounds (199,261 USD. 7.003 million roubles. 154,346 euros) instead of the planned 5,500 UK pounds (7,878 USD. 275,128 roubles. 6,064 euros), put slogans reading, “There’s probably no God. Now, stop worrying, and enjoy your life” on 800 buses. The campaign drew protests from religious organisations and believers, but, advertising regulators said it was not in conflict with legislation.

“Who said faith in God does not allow us to enjoy life?” Mr Korobko said, describing how his surprise at the posters eventually evolved into an alternative campaign. Mr Korobko said that his channel had signed a contract with CBS Outdoor to put “There is God” posters on 25 London double-deckers from 9 March. The posters will have photographs of a Russian monastery on them. He said that he had discussed the idea with Russian Orthodox Church officials in London and Moscow and they approved the project. “We are living in difficult times, when crisis is being extensively ‘promoted’… people need a life-asserting message”, he said, adding the campaign was financed by the channel.

Speaking ahead of the atheist campaign, BHA chief executive Hanne Stinson told the BBC, “We see so many posters advertising salvation through Jesus or threatening us with eternal damnation, that I feel sure that a bus advert like this will be welcomed as a breath of fresh air. If it raises a smile as well as making people think, so much the better”, she said.

29 January 2009




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