Answers in Genesis is advertising heavily, but all of the ads I’ve seen miss the mark…or undermine their point. I was sent this link to their evangelism show, which is apparently shown at the Ark Park itself, in one of their rooms with a screen. You don’t need to watch it, I’ll explain what’s in it (at least, the first three quarters, before I gave up in disgust).
Ada, a British woman who works as a journalist for the Progressive Independent Tabloid (PIT) in New York, hates her job. She is sent, with a film crew, to the Ark Encounter in Kentucky — she is not happy about it. The first bit of the video is all about setting her up as a cynical, jaded person who is not impressed by anything. When they arrive, she is interviewing the general manager, who is, in contrast, constantly smiling and optimistic and cheerful. He gives his standard spiel. The Ark replica is really big, and it’s all about bringing God’s word, and…she keeps interrupting him to say she doesn’t want to hear all this, she wants to know about how taxes were used to fund the monstrosity. He says they weren’t (they were), and finally says he’ll stop preaching at her and will show her what it’s all about. So they go inside.
They go into a big empty room with a screen on the wall. Let me just say this is what the whole Ark thing is about — it’s really big and there’s a huge amount of empty space. This part is representative of the whole Ark experience. It’s a great big wooden box with very little content, and everyone spends a lot of time telling you how big it is, as if that should impress you and make you believe in God.
So they go into an empty theater after the reporter expresses her exasperation at the general manager’s preachiness, and they play a movie at her. And the move is…Ray Comfort preaching at the audience, with the familiar, boring Ray Comfort schtick (“Have you ever told a lie?” etc.) Unbelievably, it works, she becomes a convert, sheds her cynicism, and nods along with the general manager, and I threw up my hands and turned off the 25 minute long commercial. Ken Ham must think his potential audience are all a bunch of gullible dumbasses. He might be right.
The other thing I’m seeing a lot of suddenly are YouTube ads for the Ark Park — and I should have warned you, if you watch that terrible video, YouTube will start feeding these things to you (jesus, but I fucking hate the “algorithm”). These are 15 second clips featuring an animated cartoon giraffe who is very enthusiastic about visiting the big wooden box. That’s all they ever show you, that the talking giraffe thinks the Ark is really big. They have shots of him posed in the interior, and it really hammers home the impression that it is a really big wooden box with very little in it.
I don’t know how this advertising works. It’s like the World’s Largest Ball of Twine, and sure, if I were passing by I might stop by out of curiosity, but this particular odd roadside attraction will charge you a hundred dollars to park and go inside, and once you’re there, a recording of Ray Comfort will yammer at you about Jesus.
Don’t go. Worst vacation destination ever.