Come Super Bowl Sunday, members of Los Angeles' Mosaic Church might find a new way to get in the game.
The megachurch, which is full of budding moviemakers and young film-industry workers, is one of six finalists in Doritos' "Crash the Super Bowl" challenge in which participants submitted 30-second ads for the chip. The winning advertisement will air during the big game on Feb. 7 and, if among the top-three most popular ads of the night, could earn its creator between $400,000 and $1 million.
For Mosaic lead pastor Erwin McManus, the entry isn't about the money, nor is it necessarily about preaching the gospel during the nation's most-watched event of the year.
"We're not trying to use Doritos to propagate a message, but I think we want people to know that we have a sense of humor, that it's OK to laugh," McManus said. "So much of what comes out of the faith community seems so dour and somber and we want to say, 'Hey, we're real people. You can be a person of faith and really enjoy life and laugh.'"
Indeed, the church's 30-second spot isn't exactly loaded with spiritual depth, but it is bound to earn some laughs. The premise: With the help of his friends, a man fakes his own funeral so he can watch the big game on a small TV while lying in a casket filled with Doritos. After his not-so-subtle celebration of a play tips the casket, his friend steps in to proclaim the move "a miracle!"
According to Christian producer, filmmaker and author Phil Cooke, the fact that Mosaic—a church full of young Hollywood influencers—is making news with its could-be commercial is simply part of the bigger story of Christians emerging more prominently in Hollywood.
"Nobody's going to fall on their knees and accept Jesus as a result of this spot," said Cooke. "But advertisers on Madison Avenue spend millions on a Super Bowl spot because they know it influences people. It might not get someone converted, but I think it will get someone to say, 'Maybe there is something I ought to investigate.'" [abcnews.go.com, 2/1/10]