|Sent on:||Wednesday, May 28, 2008 4:27 PM|
Last Updated: Wednesday, May[masked]:24 AM
A radio ad that tells non-Christians to "sit down and shut up" has prompted a flood of phone calls to the Kern County car dealer who paid for the ads and now regrets airing them.
Rick Kieffe, owner of Kieffe and Sons Ford in Mojave and Rosamond, insisted Wednesday that he does not remember approving the ad, which he said was written by his longtime advertising writer and producer in Oklahoma.
"It's just something that went by us," said Kieffe, who does not attend church but considers himself "a Christian spirit." "We're obviously sorry that it offends a given segment who identifies themselves as atheist."
Airing on local AM and FM radio in eastern Kern County and the Antelope Valley, the ad has gained a lot of attention on the Internet, where blog posts go on and on about its pro-Christian, anti-atheist message.
Kieffe said he has received "an incredible amount" of calls from people as far away as Australia and England, most but not all of them from "very articulate, nice people."
"Some of them just call and just use four-letter words real fast and then just hang up," he said.
Locals have scarcely reacted at all, Kieffe said, adding that responses to his ads have been "very positive ... over the years."
Kieffe and Sons has contracted the same Oklahoma ad producer for 12 to 15 years, Kieffe said. Most of the ads are humorous but a minority are patriotic, "flag-waving" messages that don't necessarily push car sales, he said.
The dealership also advertises on television and in print, although the ad in question was limited to radio.
And while that ad is no longer being broadcast, having run its full 90 days earlier this year, it has had an effect on the dealership's future ads. Kieffe said he decided not to air an ad that humorously defends the Ten Commandments, making reference to Mel Brooks' 1981 movie, "History of the World: Part I".
Kieffe said the ad was going to conclude on a funny note: "And actually, there would be 15 (commandments) if Mel Brooks hadn't dropped one of the tablets."
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: David T. <[address removed]>
Date: May 28,[masked]:21 PM
Subject: [atheists-530] Car dealership apologizes
To: [address removed]