Vatican Radio will start running commercials: Richard Branson says he wants to do lunch


(Maybe not…)

Now, this is interesting news:

“VATICAN CITY - Vatican Radio said Tuesday it will start running commercials for the first time in its 78-year history, interspersing the pope’s messages with “ideologically” sound publicity spots.”

Because I am a helpful kind of guy and because the Vatican, to paraphrase that old l’Oréal ad, is so worth it, I can’t help but start thinking about the kind of commercials and the type of products Vatican Radio should aim for.

Granted, the Church has been around the block a fair bit of times, so you could say, with Head and Shoulders, that it might be a bit late to make that vital first impression but still, there are more ways to lose your virginity than having sex.

Your first Crusade, your first auto da fé, your first indigenous massacre: There can be many significant ‘firsts’ in anyone’s and any organization’s life – and a first commercial break is one fo them.

So, which ones to choose first. Obviously, Trojans are a bit of a no no – and though more topical, I feel that ads for incontinence pads, anti-ageing creams and those ‘pre-need’ funeral insurances would not really set the right tone. Not the one the Vatican is looking for, anyway.

Enough of the negatives though: Let’s try and think of something fitting to launch Vatican Radio’s bold first trip into commercial space.


So simple, really, when you come to think of it.

What better commercial to start with than one for a Richard Branson product. I mean, give the man a white sheet, a pair of sandals and a bit more beard and he even looks a bit like Jesus.

Indeed, the very first ad in that very first commercial block really should be for Virgin Airlines.

‘Going Home in Style’, would make a fine headline for what could become Virgin’s new ‘Vatican line’ campaign.

I could see the Bearded One, sitting in his office, in his new Jesus rags but with that same smug smile on his face, with a picture of the current Pope in a gilded frame on his desk, next to a miniature Virgin airliner.

The Bearded One looks into the camera and proclaims:

In my Father’s house there are many mansions but you will only get decent room service if you can say you have travelled with Virgin.”

Fade out of the B.O., followed by a wide angle shot of a real Virgin plane taking off into a very blue sky, where a band of angels awaits it, with their trademark tambourines and trumpets at the ready.

Final fade out to the sound of that old Madonna song, ‘Like a virgin.’


(”Are you ready to ride with me?”, indeed…)

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