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How Church of Scientology channels Apple at Super Bowl

The slightly controversial Church of Scientology cruised into the Super Bowl in certain markets with an ad that might remind some Apple fanpersons of, well, a very famous Apple ad.

Think different. Very different. Church of Scientology/YouTube Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

"To the curious, inquisitive, the seekers of knowledge."

So began one Super Bowl ad last night. It smacked of more than a little philosophical grandeur.

It continued: "To the ones who just want to know." Well, this had to be something big, something portentous. This had to be a tech company, surely.

With another line, I had no doubts: "To the rebels, the artists, and the free-thinkers and the innovators."

Yes, soon would appear images of Gandhi, Muhammad Ali and, um, Mark Zuckerberg. It was all going to end with an image of Steve Jobs. There wouldn't be a dry eye at any Super Bowl party.

This was Apple bringing back its famous "Here's to the Crazy Ones" spot and modernizing it. The voice had the right rhythms. The sense of excellence and importance was oozing across the screen.

And yet.

As the ad rolled along, it became clear that we were to be subjected to more and more images of beautiful young people -- beautiful, serene, thoughtful young people.

This was not the Cult of Cupertino. This was the Church of Scientology.

This spot didn't run in all areas, merely places like Los Angeles and New York, where young people are beautiful, intelligent -- and vulnerable.

Naturally, it did cause something of a Twitter ripple.

Comedian Bill Maher, for example, offered: "I saw an ad for Scientology, i joined, and then Destiny's Child reunited! That s*** works - thanks, Tom Cruise!"

The Church hasn't been universally embraced as a force for good, especially after one of its members, John Travolta, starred in a difficult movie called "Battlefield Earth," based upon some writings by the church's founder, L. Ron Hubbard.

Still, the ad continued to show thoughtful, happy, beautiful people and concluded: "The one thing that's true is what's true for you."

"Think Different" was already taken.