Catholic Church of Montreal > News > Topics > The man behind the Cardinal > The Cardinal’s touch in advertising

The Cardinal’s touch in advertising

Bold and Eye-catching Messages

On the morning of April 18, 2011, a billboard had all of Montreal talking. Displayed alongside the highway leading to the Champlain Bridge, it stated: "Faites votre prière. Église catholique de Montréal," recommending that motorists say their prayers as they crossed the bridge. It was signed The Archdiocese of Montreal. Quite a bold quip at a time when the number of statements on the bridge's safety was increasing drastically! And a brilliant start to Holy Week and to the annual fundraising campaign.

This fundraising campaign is vital to the Church of Montreal. It contributes to the operations of the archdiocese, to the support of about fifty parishes in disadvantaged neighbourhoods, and to the upkeep of its real estate property. In 24 years, the archdiocese has collected nearly 40 million dollars.

Punchy Advertisements

Simply put, the Church of Montreal's advertising messages do not go unnoticed. They accomplish the great feat of reconciling the Church's traditional discourse and age-old messages with modern realities. They make references that are distinctly Quebecois, call on striking images, and use a clear, simple, and concise language that is tinged with humour if the subject lends itself to it. In short, they bear the stamp of Cardinal Turcotte.

At the turn of the 2nd millennium, the advertisement "2000 ans après qui?" [2000 years after whom?] was unequivocal. Returning the original and sacred meanings to the words "tabernacle, ciboire et hostie," (the choice swear words of Quebecers), in big red letters on a black background, inspired reflection. The holy image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus with the caption "Unlimited incoming calls" expressed unconditional acceptance filled with compassion and understanding.

Campaigns that Set a Precedent

Cardinal Turcotte does not hide his pride in the success of the advertising campaigns of the archdiocese. He praises the creative work of the agency Bos, which has been putting these advertisements together free of charge for the past 24 years.

The campaigns of the archdiocese have earned Bos a dozen awards, one of which was the Grand coq d'or of the Publicité Club de Montréal, which it won for the advertisement of a Mass commemorating the victims of September 11, 2001. The twin towers stood tall, composed of an endless stream of words filling two columns - the Our Father - printed in black against a white background.

Original and relevant, the messages of the Annual Collection of the Archdiocese of Montreal have reached overseas and as far as the hallways of the Vatican, where they will be the subject of a communications thesis.



Comment by Helene | 2015-04-09

I remember asking, for many years, why the Church did not "advertise"; was happy when it started to happen.
Please add 5 and 6.*