It’s not often that an article about a religious meeting, appears in the trade journal Advertising Age. But it’s not every day that a religious ad wins a major advertising award and a virtual religious event wows the Internet.
Here’s the explanation: At the height of the H1N1 flu virus in 2009, Costa Rica’s Minister of Health banned an annual, 228-year-old pilgrimage that draws more than 1 million participants who walk to the Basilica Virgen de Los Angeles, a church outside the capital, San Jose.
When the government outlawed the religious gathering on public-health grounds, the Catholic Church’s official radio station Radio Fides appealed to its ad agency for help. The agency’s solution was to take the centuries-old pilgrimage online. An advertisement for the virtual pilgrimage was created, and it has resulted in more than 15,000 people making the virtual pilgrimage, plus more than 295,000 visitors to the site. In addition, the ad for the pilgrimage won best ad at the Volcan ad festival, held in early March in Costa Rica.