The Church of Scientology had a lot of Super Bowl viewers scratching their heads after a commercial advertising the church ran during halftime on Feb. 3.
“To the curious, the inquisitive, the seekers of knowledge. To the ones who just want to know about life, about the universe, about yourself,” an omniscient narrator said in the commercial. “Not cute questions, big questions, one’s that matter.”
The ad goes on to show young, attractive twenty-somethings looking pensive as its narrator continues, “You're young. You're old. You're powerful beyond measure and the fuel of that power is not magic or mysticism, but knowledge.”
The Daily Mail reported that the mysterious church, which has faced numerous accusations over the years of being a cult, paid in the neighborhood of $8 million to run the 60-second ad during the coveted time spot. But Tony Ortega, the former Editor-in-Chief of the Village Voice who has covered Scientology for years, claims that account is not quite accurate.
According to Ortega, who covers the church extensively on his blog “The Underground Bunker,” the church planned the campaign months in advance, circumventing the more expensive process of buying a “Super Bowl” ad by grabbing up local TV spots. The elusive organization reportedly bought up television spots in metropolitan areas like Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Tampa, Seattle and Dallas.
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The ad, which is titled “The Knowledge,” first appeared on YouTube on Dec. 18, Business Insider reported. It was first run on television during the AFC Championship, as Ortega explains, before appearing in numerous cities during the Super Bowl on Feb. 3 in a 30-second version.
According to a flier made by the International Association of Scientologists that was leaked to Ortega, the organization invited members to watch the Super Bowl together at the organization’s Celebrity Centre in Nashville, TN.
But despite the church’s apparent enthusiasm, not all Super Bowl viewers who caught the ad were impressed with it. Many Twitter users reacted negatively to the ad, mocking the church for its flagrant display of money and claiming that it was comically unrealistic.
“Scientology’s commercials don’t exactly fix their image as in insane cult,” Twitter user @BB2017 wrote.
“That scientology commercial actually looked pretty interesting. Might be worth checking into at some point. (promoted)” Colin Quinn humorously tweeted.
“Yes, Scientology is known for encouraging education, curiosity and expanding one’s knowledge. In Bizarro World,” @Maria Dubs tweeted.
To view the Scientology "The Knowledge" ad, check out the video below.