The Pope: Savy Marketer

At the time of his death, the Pope had a number of product endorsement deals.

To finance the pope’s 1998 visit to Mexico City, the Archdiocese of Mexico City received corporate sponsorship from more than two dozen firms. The single largest sponsor was the Pepsi-owned Sabritas chip company, which paid $1.8 million for the right to use the pope’s image in its packaging. The Spanish-language play on words-“Las Papas del Papa” (-The Potatoes of the Pope”) was lost on absolutely no one. Equally obvious was the seemingly inescapable TV and billboard ads connecting the pope’s picture with Bimbo bread, a local cement company, and other joint promotions between the church and its corporate benefactors….

In 1999, the Vatican approved a licensing deal with Miami-based Siesta Telecom to issue a Pope John Paul II pre-paid phone card. The card comes with a signed certificate and the pope’s likeness on the card; the company already sells phone cards with the Virgin Mary’s picture on them.

(h/t Dean)

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