In a way, discussing United Church of Christ's newest ad can be tricky. Religion is such a sensitive, intensely personal issue and advertising is subjective, so it could all get so ugly so fast.
Still, let's rip the UCC a new one, shall we?
I admit, I'm interested in this only because I grew up in a UCC church. I can tell you that although the national leadership loves controversy, you'd really not know it from the typical local-level Sunday service where autonomy mostly means a low-key, pleasant, 50-minute gathering. That's true even here in the South, where the UCC is often confused with the flashier Church of Christ. (Telling difference: UCC members drink. And dance.)
At ChurchMarketingSucks, Doug's comment gets the new ad just right: "The UCC is saying churches are bigots, even if they try to say they’re different. Guess what, UCC—you’re a church, too, so you just cast yourself in the same light."
And this: why is UCC going after people who already go to church? I mean, what's the net gain if the UCC bags a Methodist? Shouldn't they really be reaching out to non-churchgoers? Instead of an alternative to other churches, shouldn't the UCC be presenting itself as an alternative to other Sunday activities, like sleeping in? Isn't that the real challenge here? I know that's harder and it might take more than a 30-second spot but it's just something they might want to consider. You know, just in case the coffers can't always support a $1.5 million ad budget.