The Holy Ad
Issue 57 | December 2020
Chief Creative Officer Oscar Muñoz Executive Creative Director Lupas Celis Copywriter Vicente Concha Art directors Daniel Chonillo, Karen Cedeño, Daniel Guerrero
Account Paola Menoscal Media Daniel Gimeno
Palm Sunday during Easter Week is an important moment in the calendar of the Catholic church. It commemorates how Jesus rode on a donkey into Jerusalem and the people spread palm branches before him.
For over a thousand years, people have folded palm leaves into the shape of a cross as a symbol of Christ’s sacrifice.
The problem in Ecuador is that every year, when nine million people buy a cross made from wax palm, the environmental cost is extreme.
In the Easter week newspapers, working together with the church and offset printing experts, El Universo printed an ad that looked like wax palm. The ink was mixed with holy water that had been blessed by a priest. Now readers could fold the page to make their own blessed palm cross.
The purchase of wax palm crucifixes was reduced by 80% when two other newspapers joined the cause. Over 150,000 copies of the newspaper were printed reaching an audience of 3.2 million.
I love this. Uninformed people often say that the print industry is responsible for the destruction of forests but here is a newspaper actively saving trees and the wildlife they support. The key part of the ad’s success was in mixing the ink with holy water so that your palm cross came ready-blessed, as it were.
During Holy Week, even the archbishop of Ecuador carried a paper palm rather than a wax palm.
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