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Best reactions to last night’s Scientology Super Bowl ad, which asked, ‘Curious?’

As it has since 2013, Scientology bought local spots during the Super Bowl to air a commercial, which was met with howls of derision on social media. We had fun last night watching the reaction live.

As we predicted based on past years, the ad showed up in numerous markets during the pre-game show. It then didn’t air during the Super Bowl’s first half because those are all national spots, which Scientology doesn’t purchase during the game itself. Then, right at the end of halftime, as in past years, the ad showed up during a local ad slot — but just in Los Angeles, apparently. It showed up in other markets during a local ad slot at the end of the third quarter, including here in New York. It then continued to air after the game, including during the airing of the NBC show This Is Us.

Expect it to continue airing, particularly during the Winter Olympics. It looks like David Miscavige is really pouring gasoline on this fire.

The ad itself was pretty underwhelming, considering what the church has aired in past years. Gone was the narrator providing voiceover, and the images were mostly recycled from previous spots. Also, Scientology was named right away, so viewers had a full 30 seconds to recoil in horror.


Most surprisingly, the ad suggested that viewers do something that Scientologists themselves are instructed never to do, and that’s to research Scientology on the Internet.

Here’s the 30-second version of the ad. Scientology usually puts up a minute-long version, and we’ll add it here if they do…


We asked some familiar names for their reaction to the spot.

Mike Rinder: ‘Curious’? Sure, about how tax exempt money is spent to act like Proctor and Gamble selling Tide.

Tom DeVocht: As an ad, I think it sucks. And, have you ever noticed that Scientology has never been able to answer the question they asked in it — what is Scientology? Seriously!

Chris Shelton: I had to laugh at that commercial. Talk about a tone-deaf response to the toxic public relations nightmare that is Scientology. They should be in full-blown PR damage control mode right now, addressing their gross mistakes of the past, showing that they have reformed and are cancelling their destructive policies and going way out of their way to be doing positive community volunteer work in each city where they have orgs. They should be publicly reaching out to make up the damage they’ve inflicted on their victims. Instead they are producing “mystery sandwich” ads which tell people to Google Scientology? Are they completely insane? That is literally the worst PR idea ever. What do they think people are going to find when they go to Google? They’re going to find Tony Ortega’s blog, they’re going to find Mike Rinder’s blog, they’re going to find my videos, Aaron Smith-Levin’s videos and of course an endless parade of articles and interviews with Leah Remini, Ron Miscavige Sr and the legion of other Aftermath contributors. They are going to find every piece of truth you can find about Scientology that will repel anyone with an ounce of common sense. In fact, they may well create more never-in anti-Scientology activists, since more than a few people have come to my channel because they Googled Scientology and then stayed because they couldn’t believe how bad it was. So I guess, in a way, I have to actually thank the PR genius who came up with this idea because this is a rare gift from Scientology – actually useful advice that anyone can follow which will ensure they stay as far away from a Church of Scientology as possible. When it comes to Scientology, I think the only thing anyone should be curious about at this point is why our law enforcement and government officials are still so backed off from launching a full-blown investigation and dismantling of this criminal organization. There has never been a better time than now to take this thing down.

Karen de la Carriere: In fact there is a lot of curiosity about Scientology. There’s a lot of curiosity online about Scientology’s runaway crime wave of 50 years of kidnapping, beatings, assault and battery, coerced abortions, and enforced disconnection. And it’s curiosity that drove interest in Going Clear, the “Truth Rundown,” and Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath, too.

Marc & Claire Headley: Organizations that spend millions of dollars on Super Bowl commercials do so in order to make millions more dollars. Scientology is no different. They are trying to sell Scientology. Any pesky families or relationships that might need to be destroyed in order for them to make a buck are secondary. There are more ex-Scientologists now than active Scientologists. There is a reason for that. Scientology is a destructive business that ruins lives. Instead of getting involved in Scientology, take some advice from the scores of people who have spent their entire lives in Scientology and managed to escape. Don’t get involved. You will save yourself a ton of money and avoid a lot of unnecessary pain and agony. This was an unpaid message.

Karen Pressley: Scientology’s “Curious?” Super Bowl ad perfectly depicted their state of mind in relation to the public’s perception of them. Asking millions of viewers if they were curious about Scientology — after so much horrible truth has been spilled about their human rights abuses through Aftermath, books, blogs, podcasts and general news and their reputation is the worst in its history — is like Harvey Weinstein putting out an ad to ask actresses if they want to get into the movie business and to meet him in his office. It’s utter insensitivity and disconnection between who they really are and who public perceive them to be. I would say they should have used the air time to create some kind of bridge between themselves and the public, but I have no idea what that bridge should be, because no one would trust anything they would offer. Maybe they really knew that already, so they took the only option they really had — pretend there is no problem with their reputation and just create an ad that is clearly oblivious to public perception of them. As if they are trying to find people who haven’t yet heard anything bad about Scientology, and entice them in with their little mystery sandwich of curiosity. Fat chance.

Once again, in case you’ve missed them, here are the ads for the previous Super Bowls…


2013’s ad, “Knowledge”…


2014’s ad, “Scientology Spiritual Technology”…


2015’s ad, “Age of Answers”…


2016’s ad, “Who Am I”…



2017’s ad, “Your Full Potential”…


And here are some of our favorite Twitter responses from last night…





And here was the scene inside Scientology’s Fort Harrison Hotel as the ad played…


Make your plans now!

Head over to our HowdyCon 2018 website to start making your travel plans!



Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 5,016 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 1,619 days
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 162 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,225 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 1,999 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,773 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,119 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,613 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,653 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,365 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 891 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 4,980 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,120 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,440 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,415 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 771 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,073 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,179 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,582 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,454 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,036 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,541 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,785 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 12,894 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on February 5, 2018 at 07:00

E-mail tips and story ideas to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com or follow us on Twitter. We post behind-the-scenes updates at our Facebook author page. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.

Our book, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper, is on sale at Amazon in paperback, Kindle, and audiobook versions. We’ve posted photographs of Paulette and scenes from her life at a separate location. Reader Sookie put together a complete index. More information can also be found at the book’s dedicated page.

The Best of the Underground Bunker, 1995-2017 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Undergound Bunker (2012-2017), The Village Voice (2008-2012), New Times Los Angeles (1999-2002) and the Phoenix New Times (1995-1999)

Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…

BLOGGING DIANETICS: We read Scientology’s founding text cover to cover with the help of L.A. attorney and former church member Vance Woodward
UP THE BRIDGE: Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists
GETTING OUR ETHICS IN: Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice
SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING: Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts

Other links: Shelly Miscavige, ten years gone | The Lisa McPherson story told in real time | The Cathriona White stories | The Leah Remini ‘Knowledge Reports’ | Hear audio of a Scientology excommunication | Scientology’s little day care of horrors | Whatever happened to Steve Fishman? | Felony charges for Scientology’s drug rehab scam | Why Scientology digs bomb-proof vaults in the desert | PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | The mystery of the richest Scientologist and his wayward sons | Scientology’s shocking mistreatment of the mentally ill | The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ


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