New Pope Means New Brand for Catholic Church


While the white smoke billowed out into St. Peter’s Square and Pope Francis was introduced to the world, the Catholic Church’s legal team was busy behind the scenes.

As it’s widely understood, the Catholic Church is as much a business as it is a religious beacon, and like any smart business, the Church protects its property. Vatican City and the Holy See are already the owners of such trademarks as “Benedictvs XVI Pontifex Maximus,” “Ioannes Pavlvs Pontifex Maximus,” “Stato Della Citta Del Vaticano,” and “Segreteria Di Stato,” according to Forbes. Now, with a new pontiff in place, Vatican lawyers will be hard at work securing trademarks for everything Pope Francis related.[more]

While the thought of a team of Vatican-hired, holy water-sprinkled lawyers sounds intimidating, it hasn’t stopped some from mocking the Church’s official claims. The New Yorker took a swipe at the Vatican’s trademarkers when its satirical Borowitz Report wrote about a fictional rapper named Pope Emeritus, who planned to block the Vatican from laying any claim to his name when referring to the recently retired Benedict XVI. 

Forbes notes that the Vatican’s trademarks are not applied for in the hopes of selling millions of Pope Francis T-shirts to Catholics throughout the world, but in order to protect the marks so others don’t use them inappropriately.

Back in the social mediasphere, brands found creative ways to use the papal news cycle to help showcase their product to the masses. After all, it worked for Oreos at the Super Bowl, right?  

A CNN reporter questioned the company via tweet, asking if they thought the post was appropriate. Unfazed, Carl’s Jr. posted another religious-themed tweet:

Citroen released a video that spoofed the smoke puffs and pointed out the high technology of its engines that help keep nasty smoke from getting into the environment.

Ford deleted its pope-related marketing tweet, presumably for fear of upsetting the 1.2 billion Catholics worldwide. Its message? Coupled with an image of a Ford Mustang, it read “We’ve got white smoke, too,” DigiDay reports.

One brand that doesn’t have to do any work to associate itself with the Pope is Mercedes-Benz, which has been the vehicle of choice for many a Pope. The Vatican currently owns a number of Mercedes-Benz M-Class SUVs, which are otherwise known as “Popemobiles.” The vehicles are tricked out with “oxygen supply and a hydraulic chair made of white leather with gold trim for maximum comfort,” according to the Telegraph. Since this M-Class has no privacy tint, there’s nothing else to do but wave to the teeming masses. Better start building up those arm muscles, Francis.

Image via Getty Images.


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