Well, it's been awhile since I wrote on this little website,
and I noticed that three quarters of the page was missing from
my last entry! That's all the stuff below my rants on this page.
Sorry about that! It's been a tad hectic here!
I was a kid growing up in Ireland, I was always aware that myself
and a couple of others were practically the only protestants
in the republic - but that never bothered me at all. Sometimes
I think Graham Norton and I were the ONLY protestants in the
Irish republic! Anyway, one thing I knew virtually nothing about
- was the pope, the vatican and the religion that envelopes
it. Someone once told me that the Catholic church owned one
half of New York, and the Queen owned the other! That was enough
for me to realise how incredibly powerful this institution is
(the institution of the catholic church, that is, not the queen,
although I suspect she can pack a punch too!).
It's only recently, due to heavy media coverage, that I came
to learn more about this awsome international powerhouse. I
hear there are a billion Catholics in the world. I have learned
the complex procedure for recruiting the CEO of Catholic Church
LTD. Back in 1978 when a Polish guy changed his name to Pope
John Paul the second, it all kinda happened without me noticing.
As a 17 year old I was more interested in running after girls
and spinning records in back-street radio stations like Southside
radio (Dun Laoghaire).
the pope came to Ireland. Hilarious! People in Dublin were cramming
into trains at 2am to go see him. I had never seen a town so
obsessed. It suddenly occured to me that this wasn't just a
visit, it was a mammoth media machine turning its powerful wheels
and causing havoc in its wake! What were normal well-behaved
Irish catholics had become mad-hatters climbing over each other
with polaroid cameras (remember them?) to get an instant snap
of the man! Jesus Mary and Joseph already!
Jozef Wojtyla becomes Pope John-Paul II in 1978 |
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger became Pope Benedict XVI on
I forgot about it for twenty years. Now, about ten days Pope
John Paul the second went to meet his maker, and watching the
media on that brought it all back to me. Yesterday (2am here)
I watched in awe as a new pope walked onto the balcony. Pope
Joseph Ratzinger of Germany (pictured above, right)
got the gig and Rome, along with the rest of the planet, went
nuts. The whole media thing fascinated me.
Lets pretend we, that is, you and I, are a marketing
company, okay? Were having a conversation with
a potential client in the office.
US: "Come in! Sit
down. Now how can we help you?"
Catholic Church Ltd: "Well, were taking on a new
CEO who is fairly high-profile, and given that our company has
been involved in a lot of bad publicity, we want to come across
as positively as possible".
US: "Do you know who you're taking on as the
new CEO? Perhaps we can help you pick a person who will look
good in public".
LTD: "Oh no! We have a long tradition in our company
where the board decides on a new CEO. In fact, there's going
to be a board meeting, which could take days, or even weeks"
US: "Okay, well, if we can't actually
pick a perfect public figure, we'll have to do a major PR exercise
with the situation we've got."
CC LTD: "What we REALLY need is a big hoo-haa.
We have a billion clients from all over the world. In recent
times we have been in court over all sorts of issues regarding
our middle management".
US: "What kind of issues?"
CC LTD: "We can't say. It's company policy, you see.
Basically we've received really bad press because, instead of
firing the culprits, they claim we've just been moving them
to other offices".
US: "Okay. What we need is a major PR campaign using
the media to its fullest extent. First of all, create excitement.
Emm, let's lock all the members of the board in their boardroom
while they're appointing a new CEO. Tell the media that they're
locked in there without any TV, Radio, or internet. Tell the
media they could be locked in there for weeks! That'll work!
CC LTD: "Sounds interesting. But its not enough, is
US: "You're right. Those offices of yours are
over five centuries old, arn't they? Does that old chimney work
CC LTD: "I think so. We haven't used it since
1978 though. I'll check it out"
US: "Well, see if it's still working. What we
propose is that you pump out black smoke when the board has
unsuccessfully voted, and white smoke when theres a new CEO.
This will drive the media crazy. They'll have their cameras
glued to that chimney for days! The web-cam hit rates will crash
servers! You know, I reckon once the white smoke comes out of
that chimney, the TV ratings will go through the roof..Uh, sorry
about the pun there"
just love how institutions such as the catholic church have
embraced marketing! Good on them, I say. And good on you for
entertaining my whims by reading this!