Scientology's Promo campaign
or: how to anger the press
while dodging your critics
a.r.s., July 25, 199
On Thursday July 24 - yesterday - I receveid a fax from the Amsterdam local
television station, AT5. They had received a press release from CoS
announcing their new promo campaign; they would have open house, invite the
neighbours, and present a bus - a London one, the doubledecker kind - which
had videos running inside. Miss Holland 1993, the only prominent Scientology member
in the Netherlands, would launch the campaign. AT5 asked me whether I would
like to be present, so that they could do an interview with me; unless they
could have a critic to counterbalance CoS's promo, they did not want to
cover the start of the campaign.
I decided I would. The journalist and I made an appointment. The
journalist made arrangements with CoS. I posted a message to nl.scientology
and to our critics mailing list in order to tell people that CoS had open
house and would launch a campaign, and that I was going to take a look. I
refrained from mentioning that there would be a tv-crew and that there
would be interviews, to prevent the presence of those who would only go
their for sensational purposes.
This morning, at almost twelve, the journalist phoned me. She told me that
CoS had phoned her with the news that they had some trouble with the bus
and that they hoped it wouold be repaired later this afternoon; meanwhile,
the launch of the campaign had been postponed until four o'clock.
We rescheduled our appointment. I did a follow-up to my earlier
postings, telling that the launch would not be at 14:00 but at 16:00.
At three, the journalist called me again. She had just phoned CoS to ask
whether they would be able to make it at four. Julia Rijnvis - the local PR
woman - was unreacheable; the journalist was put through to somebody else.
That person explained that unfortunately, Miss Holland 1993 had been in a
bit of a hurry, so that they had had to reschedule the launch, and that it
had already taken place at one o'clock this afternoon. (It would seem that
they had been able to repair that bus real quick - within the hour, even;
must be those gnarly OT-powers!) In short, this CoS person explained to the
AT5 journalist, the whole thing had been done two hours ago.
The journalist was furious. She had made arrangements; had selected
video fragments from AT5's archives; she'd prepared some texts; she had
claimed time on one of the news shows; had made reservations for a tv-crew.
"Send them a bill for it," I suggested, but although she laughed,she was
Later, I got e-mail from some other people. Around four o'clock some of the
critics had indeed been at the org's front door, but all they saw were
eight balloons - red and yellow - and some thirty people inside.
But there was one person who had missed my warnings of rescheduling.
He showed up at two o'clock. And yes, the campaign was launched at that
It would seem that CoS wanted to dodge us, and had developped a sudden
severe dislike of having me being interviewed there.
What they managed to do is piss of the local TV station and get me an
afternoon off to sit with my beloved on a terrace.
Here's the report of the one critic who did witnes the launch of the
"The bus arrived at 14.00, there was a mini-speech. Miss Holland '93
(not my type, to be honest; my SO is much more beautiful ;-)) let some
balloons fly away and uttered some 'the best of succes' things (while the
microphone ssuffered from backfeeding). At best, there were thirty people.
A big yellow bus, the "Dianetics Roadshow"; on top it had space for a live
band who played "It's now or never" and more such evergreens; they were dressed in red Dianetics shirts. On the side of the bus were texts such as:
"Come inside for a
(c) Dianetics/Scientology 1996, I'd better add.
free video and a
free personality test"
Strange guys, these Scientologists... strange kinda type, too, kind of
low-life. I left shorly after two, when the danger that I'd be put through
their machinery and subjected to a personality test grew (they started to
try and get passers-by to do their test).
There were 2 press photographers.
Copyright Karin Spaink.
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