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Posted 26 Mar 2001   For week ended March 09, 2001
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Sent on Mormon-News: 09Mar01

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 comment.


'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


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