We had to withdraw the campaign we had planned for Easter 1999 at short notice, which meant that the new campaign had to be completed very quickly. The “Che Guervara” poster was produced in record time and in one format only. The 48-sheet poster boards were formed of three 16-sheet portrait posters side by side. Another benefit of the simplicity of execution of the poster was that it was very economical to produce.
To download high-resolution versions of the poster, please click here.
The campaign created some hostility, as described in a BBC news story, with one Member of Parliament describing it as sacrilegious. It provoked a major debate in The Guardian on the subject of religious advertising. We defended the poster in the following way…
“Jesus was not crucified for being meek and mild. He challenged authority. He was given a crown of thorns in a cruel parody of his claims about proclaiming the Kingdom of God. Our poster has the most arresting picture our advertisers could find to convey all this – the image deliberately imitates the style of the well-known poster of Che Guevara.”
For more about the image, see this feature on the rejesus website.
The “Meek. Mild. As if” campaign was on the whole highly successful, and worked with the same image at both public poster hoarding and local church levels. Perhaps the most extraordinary feature of the campaign was the way in which it was reported in newspapers across all five continents. The poster is still in demand from both British and overseas churches, long after the conclusion of the campaign. The poster also featured in both the video accompanying the hugely successful National Gallery exhibition and the BBC2 programme Seeing Salvation.
The press launch received an enormous boost because it coincidentally occurred just days after the 40th anniversary of Fidel Castro and Che Guevara’s assult on Havana. This anniversary had been widely noted in the news media.