Restaurant says ad with Jesus smoking a joint paid off

by: Linzi Sheldon Updated:


SEATTLE - After depicting Jesus smoking a joint in a controversial Easter ad, a local restaurant says the risk has paid off.

Since burgers are not what most people think of for Easter lunch or dinner, Lunchbox Laboratory launched a two-for-one Easter deal on its "Burger of the Gods."

 "I can tell you since this ad has taken off, we've definitely seen upwards of a 10-percent increase in business," CEO John Schmidt said.

But the burger promotion has also gotten a lot of backlash.

When the ad first launched, KIRO 7 showed viewers how customers posted on the restaurant's Facebook page, with one stating, "I liked your food until you blasphemed my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I will not support this kind of thing."

The ad shows Jesus smoking a joint and eating the burger.

It's a joke about Easter landing on April 20 this year, known as 4/20 -- a pot smoker's holiday.

Lunchbox Laboratory sent out the offer by email to about 13,000 who signed up.

People heading to service at First Baptist Church for Easter Sunday service didn't find it so funny.

"I don't know why people choose to take the image and teachings and philosophy of a great teacher like Jesus and try to make a joke out of it," Michael Geller said. "I'm certainly not supportive of it."

But the restaurant's president John Schmidt said he's a Christian, and while he regrets offending people, he stands by his stunt on the sacred.

"I've got to stand out in a crowd," he said, "so I expect nothing will change in the way we do our advertising."

Customers made it clear that it wasn't deterring them from a good meal.

"I don't think anyone should really play like that on religion," Andrew Slater said before digging into a "Burger of the Gods," "but I think it is a joke, and people should just realize it like that."

Schmidt said next year's ad will feature Jesus again, but he likely won't be smoking a joint, since Easter won't fall on 4/20.