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(RNS) As debate swirls around Tim Tebow’s anti-abortion views being aired in a $2.5 million Super Bowl ad, a church in Pasadena, Calif., is taking a completely different tack.
A commercial created by Mosaic, a congregation that’s home to many young Hollywood industry artists, is one of the six finalists in a Doritos competition that will feature three new ads during the game on Sunday (Feb. 7).
“We make short films and we make things that look like commercials all the time,” said Erwin McManus, the pastor to about 3,000 people who attend his evangelical church across seven locations in greater Los Angeles. “Commercials are really just telling a story in 30 seconds.”
While the specifics of Tebow’s ad are still under wraps, Mosaic’s commercial is already out there — with more than 105,000 views on Doritos’ Web site (www.crashthesuperbowl.com).
The three ads that get the most votes online among the six finalists will air during the Super Bowl.
The ad depicts a somber funeral, with a photo of the dead man hugging a bag of Doritos. Inside the casket, he’s still very much alive, covered with Doritos and watching a game on a small television. When his team scores big, he gets a little excited, the casket starts shaking, and well … watch the ad to see what happens.
Nothing in the ad mentions the church behind it, but McManus said the press coverage alone is drawing attention to his congregation.
“I think a lot of times Christians feel like we have to be real direct, everything has to be a statement of faith,” he said. “What we want to do is do things that are really beautiful, attractive, compelling, and earn the right to be heard.”
One thing, he said, is for sure: the ad was not designed as a strategy to increase church membership.
“We didn’t sit there and go, `How do we sneak our message into the commercial?”‘ he said. “We actually asked the question, `How do we create for Doritos the best commercial possible?”‘
McManus, who acknowledges that he’s fan of both football and Doritos, said he’ll be in Miami for the Super Bowl, and won’t know until then if his church’s commercial will air.
Copyright 2010 Religion News Service. All rights reserved. No part of this transmission may be distributed or reproduced without written permission.

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