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Monks and Abbey Priests in Amusing Commercials

Monastic themes have been an inspiration for adversing parodies that have sparked filmic tales about Monks and Abbey Priests, in memorably amusing commercials, for many years.   

1. Pepsi, Kung Fu Monastery

BBDO advertising agency: BBDO, Paris, France

Production Company: RadicalMedia, London, UK

Released in 2002, The Pepsi ‘Kung Fu’ scenario about a young lad’s initiation to Martial Arts at a Shaolin Temple, a Buddhist monastery in China, and his ten years of training, is possibly one of Pepsi’s most entertaining commercials to date.

Directed by filmmaker Tarsem Singh, the commercial stars five-time martial arts world champion, and actor, Matthew Mullins, and features a soundtrack by London based, cinematographer, graphic designer, editor, and composer, Ken Flanagan.

2. Xerox, Brother Dominic

Advertising Agency: Y&R, New York, USA

Production Company:

Thirty odd years ago Xerox aired a commercial during the live TV coverage of the USA Super Bowl Football Championships, about a Brother Dominic that was hugely popular with viewers of all ages, and became an Advertising Hall of Fame classic.

To celebrate the launch of Xerox’s revolutionary new colour photocopier capabilities,  Brother Dominic returned to ‘Set The Page Free’.

Directed by filmmaker James Rouse, who elicits stellar performances from his cast, Brother Dominic’s ‘divine’ global successes with Xerox, are a joy to view.

3. Leffe Abby Belgium, Always Welcome

Advertising Agency: AIR Brussels, McCann Partner, Belgium

Production Company: Hamlet, Brussels, Belgium

The Abbey of Leffe, on the river Meuse, in the province of Namur in southern Belgium, started brewing their famous pale ale in 1240, and during their existence of over a century, the monks of Leffe Abbey, have always opened their doors to passing pilgrims and travellers, and welcomed them with a glass of Leffe Pale Ale.

The ‘Born To Be Wild’ scenario of motorcycle riders, seeking an overnight refuge, and directed by the Prague based Wolfberg filmmaking duo, of Jan Kalvoda, and Premysl Ponahly, features a portrayal of the traditional hospitality of the Abbey monks, in an amusingly dramatised commercial of exuberant conviviality and largesse.

4. Stella Artois, Ice Skating Priests

Advertising Agency: Lowe, London, UK

Production Company: Academy Films, London, UK

In the realms of great beer advertising, Lowe’s Stella Artois, ‘Ice Skating Priests’, for me, stands out as a filmic masterpiece of storytelling, directing, and editing.

Directed by filmmaker Jonathan Glazer, and filmed in Poland, with a superb cast, and an amusingly nuanced performance from main actor, Polish star Zbigniew Zamachowski, the monochrome commercial, is masterly evocative of the silent movie era.

The characteristic camera-angle variations, and flat, uniform-lighting of late 1920’s feature films, have been produced to perfection, and fittingly features a resonant soundtrack of the Hungarian Rhapsody No.2 by Franz Liszt.

5. Château Ksara Winery, Sophie

Advertising Agency: Leo Burnett, Beirut, Lebanon

Production Company: Clandestino, Tunisia

The Château Ksara estate, located near the city of Baalbek in Lebanon’s Beqaa Valley, northeast of Beirut, was a ‘ksar’ or fortress during the time of the Crusades in the late 11th Century.

The property, already renowned for winemaking, was acquired by Jesuit priests in 1857, who continued with the cultivation of vineyards and grape harvesting for the making of exceptional wines, that are aged in the vast underground caverns they discovered.

The many legendary stories about how the Jesuit priests discovered the underground caverns, inspired Leo Burnett Beirut to conceive the amusing ‘Sophie’ scenario, that is one of three commercials, for viewers to ponder on which story, is the most likely to be the ‘true’ version, of their historic find. 

Directed by filmmaker Chadi Younes, who elicited sterling performances from his cast, the superbly produced ‘Sophie’ episode, makes for cinematic and highly enjoyable viewing.