Millions of Super Bowl viewers were treated to a myriad of advertisements -- from alcohol distributors, snack brands and even Scientologists -- on Sunday night.
An ad for the Church of Scientology aired during the Super Bowl, shortly after the game went into halftime around 8 p.m., notes The Hollywood Reporter. The ad is part of the church's "Knowledge" campaign.
"To the curious. The inquisitive. The seekers of knowledge," begins the 30-second Scientology Super Bowl ad. "To the ones who just wanna know. About life. About the universe. About yourself. Not cute questions. Big questions, ones that matter. To the rebels, the artists, the free thinkers and the innovators. Who care less about labels and more about truth. Who believe non-conformity is more than a bumper sticker."
A 30-second Super Bowl ad cost approximately $3.8 million this year, according to CBS News. But the Church of Scientology likely paid a much lower price.
Explains Business Insider,
In fact, Scientology did not have an ad in "the" Super Bowl. Rather, it bought local TV advertising is several major spot markets — such as New York and Los Angeles — during breaks saved for regional advertisers and local channel advertising. Thus many people in major metro areas believed they had seen a Super Bowl ad for Scientology when in fact they only saw a much cheaper piece of local TV advertising.
Tony Ortega, a Village Voice editor-turned-Scientology sleuth, reported in January that a Scientology ad may air during the Super Bowl, but even he was skeptical that the spot would actually run.
BuzzFeed's Copyranter notes that, although it ran during the Super Bowl, the Scientology "Knowledge" ad is more than a month old and was uploaded to the official Scientology YouTube channel on Dec. 18.
Copyranter also compares the ad to Apple's classic 1997 "Think Different" spot. "Here's to the crazy ones," begins the ad. "The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently."
This is the second time in recent weeks a Scientology ad has broken into the mainstream media.
In mid-January, the Atlantic published promotional, sponsored content by the Church of Scientology detailing how the church's “ecclesiastical leader,” David Miscavige, had led it to its best year yet. The advertorial package was denounced by readers, and the Atlantic promptly removed the post after receiving a wave of backlash.
The ads come on the heels of the release of Lawrence Wright's Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief, a book compiled by more than two hundred interviews to formulate a comprehensive look inside the controversial religion.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this article misstated the release date of Apple's "Think Different" ad.