Left to right: Foundation for a Drug-Free World, United for Human Rights and The Way to Happiness Foundation.

Every day I encounter Google Adsense or YouTube displaying ads for at least one of these sites. Though they always look tacky, they do look a bit more polished and high-budget than you'd normally expect of these sites so at one point I checked em out. First one I entered was the 'Foundation for a Drug-Free World' one. As a web and motion graphics designer, I was quite amazed by the quality of the website and couldn't quite get my head around how what seems to be a typical non-profit organization could get the budget for such a site.

It wasn't until I also entered the 'The Way To Happiness Foundation' site that I found a clue: the site had the exact same technical design style and mentioned how the teachings behind its 'way to happiness' principles are based on a book written by L. Ron Hubbard. A few Google search results later I also found enough official references proving that the other sites were also run by Scientology.

Even though the 'Foundation for a Drug-Free World' and 'United for Human Rights' sites indicate no connection whatsoever to Scientology and the 'Happiness' one mentions it only slightly in some subtle info section, Scientology seems to be throwing massive amounts of cash at advertising these the same way they've been advertising their other websites through YouTube and Google Adsense.

I have my personal opinion but I'm not judging Scientology as a religion here and I respect everyone's religious beliefs. I just wanted to get the word out on this because the idea of billboards and banners all over the web, advertising companies and non-profits that are secretly run by a religious organization with its own agenda is a scary one to me.

Views: 706

Tags: drug, foundation, free, happiness, marketing, scientology, to, viral, way

Comment by Christopher on July 1, 2009 at 9:40pm
Thanks for sharing this information.
Comment by Michael (Drmnbss) on July 1, 2009 at 9:52pm
The best thing to do would be to download Adblock Plus for Mozilla Firefox. "Ads were yesterday!" It works really well actually.
Comment by Morgaine on July 1, 2009 at 9:57pm
Only the tip of the iceberg i think... i fear that Scientology have their hands in many more pies than we could ever imagine...
Comment by Stenbraek on July 1, 2009 at 10:09pm
I was just having a look to that "United for Human Rights"... Well have a look at human right #27! Believe me, uou will never guess!!!!

Comment by Kirsten on July 1, 2009 at 10:13pm
I had a same experience when I caught a glimpse of one of their commercials.

I'm a film major so I tend to notice well done advertisements, and the beginning of this one commercial was superb - but when it came to the end the screen became flashed with 'scientology.org' and it took me a good minute to process it.

It's scary knowing that with these ads and sites under their belt they're more likely to draw in more interested people.
Comment by ExZ on July 1, 2009 at 10:39pm
Man watching those drug free world videos is hilarious, I dig if drugs aren't your thing but Jesus if anyone's lying its them, they should tell the truth about drugs, getting drunk, smoking weed can be some good shit in moderation lol there LSD one actually tempts me to try it in the future.
Comment by Miguel aka ''EM'' on July 1, 2009 at 10:43pm
I don't know if i'm being brainwashed or if its even fair for me to say that about them but, some of those ads kinda actually make sense & made me think about it a little bit BUT ultimately I think i'm gonna stick with the believe system i'm with, i've been hurt before but I can definitely say i'm happy so far.
Comment by Reese Leysen on July 1, 2009 at 10:48pm
We did it guys, it's on Reddit front page. I Power exposes the shit once again ;) .
Comment by Andreas debaene on July 1, 2009 at 10:58pm
As you sad Reese, the site's technical design are look-a-likes, specially 'United for Human Rights' and 'The way to Happiness Foundation' aren't much of a difference.

And I'm not really surprised that these kind of things happen. I think there are much more of these kind of sites then we know off.

I respect everyone's beliefs, religious or not, I just don't think that everyone should try so hard to push there religion to the front line, when someone is interested in a religion, that person shall seek that religion.

when religion starts to advertise, it is kind of scary, Imagine that soon there will be an action figure of god ..

I digg.
Comment by Alice F Dann on July 1, 2009 at 11:40pm
Now I am not a the best person when it comes to religion because I honestly am an atheist, and have my own belief, but the Scientology Commercial are interesting to say the least. I mean at first glance I was like this is a cool Nike, or health commercial inspiring people to do something, then it ended up being Scientology.org. WOW! Whatever they are doing it is making a buzz.

Now I would like to mention one thing. Reese Leysen perception of viral marketing maybe wrong, Reese are you referring to the online ads or are you referring to word of mouth marketing using social media platforms and online communities to engage conversation surrounding a brand? Here is Wiki definition of Viral Marketing - The buzzwords viral marketing and viral advertising refer to marketing techniques that use pre-existing social networks to produce increases in brand awareness or to achieve other marketing objectives (such as product sales) through self-replicating viral processes, analogous to the spread of pathological and computer viruses. It can be word-of-mouth delivered or enhanced by the network effects of the Internet [1]. Viral promotions may take the form of video clips, interactive Flash games, advergames, ebooks, brandable software, images, or even text messages. The basic form of viral marketing is not infinitely sustainable. [Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viral_marketing]

FYI - I also notice that Scientology YouTube channel seems to be responding to people questions. Check it out - YouTube Scientology


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