2013 was a crazy year for the church, and it seems Puma is attempting to keep the trend going with its latest experiential marketing stunt.

On Ash Wednesday, the company erected confessionals in New York, Boston, Chicago, and Los Angeles for consumers to #StartBelieving in the company’s new Italy jersey for its FIFA, World Cup campaign.

Brand ambassadors encouraged people passing by to kneel before the jersey, take photos and share through social channels.

According to a spokesperson for the brand, the display was not intended to play on the religious date. It was a complete coincidence with the fact that March 5th was the first the shirts were being worn in play.

Our own Michael Fernandez spoke out saying the experiential stunt was done in bad taste in an article on MediaPost. This marketing could certainly have a negative effect on the way some consumers view the brand moving forward. Michael says, “As the owner of an experiential marketing firm, I appreciate creatives who push the boundaries of creativity but not at the expense of alienating people.” We agree with him!

Even AdAge questioned their tactics in this article last week.

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