By Rosemary Pollock
Utah Beer Ads Poke Fun at Mormon Culture, Offend Some
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- The Wasatch front is being bombarded with
irreverent radio ads and billboards lampooning what Wasatch Beer
refers to as "Utah's prevailing culture". The latest in Park City's
Kirwin Communications ad agency brainstorm have outraged some members
of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and brought smiles
to some in the community.
"We just want to sell beer and have fun doing it," said Wasatch Brewing
managing partner Greg Schirf. "The campaign really isn't intended to give
offense to the prevailing culture." Traveling down I-15 to the 600 South
exit you can see a billboard proclaiming, "Baptize your taste buds."
Turn on your radio and you might here a radio spot where Elders "Rulon" and
"Heber", after repeated doors being slammed in their faces, blurt out "We're
here to spread the word about good beer." Irreverent jabs include a tired
pioneer responding to Brigham Young's "This is the place" statement with,
"So who's ready for a cold beer?"
Other irreverent slogans about temple recommends and the Quorum of the
Twelve were cancelled as being too harsh. "We decided it was not kind,"
said Lesley Christoph, Kirwin creative director.
"Frankly, it's not a good idea to be easily offended by these things. I
would be very surprised if LDS Church leaders gave it a second thought,"
said Laurie Dipadova, University of Utah political science professor and
member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. "There are too
many important things to be concerned about. People who are bothered by
this kind of humor don't have enough real concerns."
Not everyone is laughing. The Utah Legislature is more than 90 percent
Mormon and those vexed lawmakers have taken their complaints to the Utah
Beer Wholesale Association. The problem is that Wasatch Beer is not a
member of the association.
"This is a private business," said Bill Christofferson, president of the
wholesalers' group. "We want to be a good neighbor. It gives a black eye to
the whole industry." Kirwin admits that the ad campaign is risky. "How can
you lose a customer you'll never have?"
The Church of Jesus Christ spokesman Dale Bills said the church has no
'Baptize Your Taste Buds'
Fox News (AP) 6Mar01 D6
Mormons upset at local beer's ad campaign
A Blessing or a Curse? Irreverent Beer Ads Brew Plenty of Both
Salt Lake Tribune 4Mar01 D6
By Glen Warchol: Salt Lake Tribune