Does Jesus need a marketing campaign? The organizers of the ‘“He Gets Us” ad campaign think so, and they say they intend to spend about $1 billion dollars over the next three years to spread His message. But many are wondering why millions are being spent promoting Jesus, anyway. Does Christianity need a marketing blitz?
“He Gets Us”
You may have seen some “He Gets Us” ads on television. Over stark black and white images, an unseen narrator relates Jesus to the viewer. Jesus got lonely, the ads say. Jesus felt marginalized. Jesus lived in poverty. Jesus accepted everyone.
Jesus was just like you.
The ads have been running for about a year: on television, YouTube, and even on billboards. But they’re just getting started, the campaign funders say. Initially reported as costing $100 million dollars, the campaign’s budget has now grown to a whopping $1 billion. First stop: The upcoming Super Bowl matchup between the Chiefs and the Eagles, during which at least two ads are scheduled to play.
When the ads first started to appear, the group of donors spending millions to display them across the country were completely anonymous. Many wondered who would invest such a large sum to sell, arguably, the most famous (son of) man in the world. Now we know, at least in part: Just recently, Hobby Lobby co-founder David Green let it slip that he and his family helped to fund the ad campaign in an effort to relate Jesus Christ to an increasingly nonreligious American youth. The goal? Conversions to Christianity. “We are wanting to say — we being a lot of people — that he gets us. He understands us. He loves who we hate,” he stated. “I think we have to let the public know and create a movement.”
The Super Bowl ads will cost a reported $20 million dollars, but that’s barely a drop in the bucket as donors see it. Green said that he and the other benefactors intend to spare no expense in the years to come. “The goal is to invest about a billion dollars over the next three years,” Green explained. “And that is just the first phase.”
With two ads during the biggest sporting event of the year coming up, millions of eyeballs will be on the “He Gets Us” ads. But not everyone who has already seen them is exactly buying the message - or the price tag...
What Would Jesus Buy?
The ads have received hefty doses of criticism from evangelicals and atheists alike. Many Christians find the ads offensive, particularly the “Jesus Was Born To A Teen Mom” ad, which draws parallels between the immaculate conception of Jesus and a teenage girl cheating on her boyfriend.
And many atheists find the ads performative, a cynical attempt to relate Jesus to Gen Z without taking a significant stand on any of the issues young people care about right now.
But one thing many agree on is that the pricey marketing blitz is money that could’ve been better spent elsewhere. Many have wondered whether Jesus would approve of a billion dollar marketing push for himself, or whether he would prefer that money be spent investing in communities, education, and spiritual upliftment.
The creators, of course, see things differently. Jason Vanderground, the president of Haven, a marketing firm which contributed to producing the ads, says that the spiritual results will pay dividends. “[We] have this objective of encouraging Christians to follow the example of Jesus in the way that they love and treat each other,” he says. And the ideal result - a more Christian world - will pay for itself.
Have you seen the “He Gets Us” ads? If so, what do you think of them, and would Jesus approve?
I have a brilliant Idea instead of wasting billions of dollars why no t spread the word of Jesus and donate the money to charity,help the homeless build a huge hostel.Have the trained staff is workers support staff, doctors, nurses mental health teams in .That will prove to the world that God and Jesus exist to the non believers and it may increase the public visits and it would also have a positive response for the church.Makes sense really.
Agreed - Action speaks louder than words.
The only ones benefiting from advertising are the advertisers - a billion to them...
But a billion to a free hospital - and homeless housing (not just shelters), now THAT is something to praise God about!
I agree with you Nicholas. I also am not against a small amount of money for ads to combat Ron Regean's (what did Wm. Dusenberry call it, oh a) meme.
Shalom, it is a great idea to donate to the needy, in order to spread the word, but you know that the words of God Almighty, in the name of Christ Jesus, have been spreading for past seven thousand years, but now I am believing that we need to spread the image of God Almighty, but in the name of Christ Jesus, so all mankind, can obtain the image of God Almighty, be a complete male/female, with Body, Soul and Spirit and have dominion over the birds of the air, fish of the sea and everything that creeps in the earth, male/female, have this right to obtain their birth, then being a complete person they can make the right decision. I am sure this also is a great idea, to go back to the beginning and think on these things.
Imagine if they instead raised the salaries of the hardworking people in their businesses, or donated to reputable Christian missionaries. Or maybe showed some REAL human internet and followed the example of Christ and donated to an LGBTQ organization. I’d be very impressed with them if they did that.
If you spend the money doing Jesus' work (helping the poor and needy) you won't need to advertise. A good example is better than any advertising.
You have to lead by example
Sadly no one has mentioned, in the comments above that this is an initiative that will actually be paid for by the tax payers since the donated funds are tax deductable. I have for years beat the drum against taxpayer support of religion, including the waving of taxes on their property and other assorted holdings.
You hit the nail on the head. Revoke all religious tax exemptions. Treat religious property as any other property.
The donated funds may be tax deductible for the donors, But then that money is dispersed into the economy for the advertising campaign.
And money like that, not only from that source but others, keeps ALL the people along ALL aspects of the chain employed. Some janitor or cameraman or lighting technicians or some secretary owe their jobs to the fact that advertising money is there.
And that money is not just going to Christian's in those fields and others, because they don't have THAT much control over it.
So somewhere some gay Muslim sound technician is able to take his partner out to a romantic dinner and as a result the restaurant will does well and the illegal alien dishwasher in the back of the restaurant is able to keep his job. And because the restaurant is doing well it'll be a target for some robbers that should have been in jail, but were not because of some policies of leftist politicians. And so the restaurant gets held up and maybe somebody gets shot and the paramedics have to come and that person has to go to the hospital to be treated by the staff there. So all those people have job security.
And all because of the Christian advertising money.
See how it is all interrelated? So the next time you hear a politician belly aching that corporations don't pay their "fair share" or they, as a corporation, did not pay any tax, you'll be able to answer that all the people that they employ, both directly and indirectly, and all the goods and services they need infuses more than enough money into the economy to make up for it.
@Rev. MichaelRS You'll find this billionaire money is remaining in the Christian community. Ever hear of Salem Media Group? https://salemmedia.com/ There are a number of older Christian billionaires who feel it is their mission to advertise Jesus and conservative Christian values to promote their political agenda.
THIS IS NOT ABOUT SPREDING THE WORD OF GOD; IT'S USING THE WORD OF GOD FOR A POLITICAL AGENDA.
We saw this 10 years ago when Harold Camping/Family Radio spent $600,000,000 advertising the end of the world on May 21. https://laist.com/news/save-the-date-billboard-campaign-re
These billionaires have no interest in helping people, their goal is to promote their political agenda using religion and the word of God.
I have no problem with that, since Is the agenda of the rest of society these days seems to be interested in spreading debauchery and generalize immorality and perversions through the will and word of Satan...so to speak.
@Rev. MichaelRS It's interesting to watch where the United States is heading in terms of business, politics, religion and how people are treating each other.
Have you been watching how the billionaire capitalists are using their money to manipulate Christians and politicians to make even more money?
"I have no problem with that, since Is the agenda of the rest of society these days seems to be interested in spreading debauchery and generalize immorality and perversions through the will and word of Satan...so to speak."
The "rest of society"? What horrible place do you live? Around here, we're a pretty decent bunch.
Jesus is a the best example of a “meme” (and a Hoax) known to mankind - to date.
A meme (person, event, custom, or anything else that has no factual historical basis) is passed on, from one generation to the next, and is simply accepted as factual — because most people accept it as factual.
There is no historical (non-religious) basis for a historical Jesus — which means that Jesus is merely a meme.
As is the case with anything else supernatural - that is believed as factual by the sheeple (AKA, the deplorables, the rabble, the sheeple).
To William, Do you believe the sun will come up tomorrow? Do you believe the moon will rise at night? Do you believe you will have air to breath? Do you believe that your car will take you somewhere? Do you believe that the money, or cards in your wallet with allow you to purchase goods? How many of these things were created with actual facts? All items created by man. No historical background. Do you believe in Dinosaurs? Fossils? These are built on facts. NOT MAN MADE. We have a book, written by large, diverse group of people that tell us of a being, NAMED GOD. Whether it be a Bible, a Torah, a Koran, or any other Religion, all written 2, 3 thousand years, or more ago. That is no meme. Now you have something to believe in. Thank You Pastor Ron
Do I believe the sun and moon will rise. Yes, that's belief because I can't guarentee that it will rise. But based on thousands of years of the same thing happening, it's a pretty accepted belief. Do I believe I have air to breathe, yes but that's a fact based on I can literally test it myself if I so desire so there isn't belief there so much as certainty. Do I believe my car will take me somewhere? I am certain it will because I see the mechanical parts, I understand how they function to make the other parts go. Then it's based on my skill and knowledge to navigate the car to take me where I want to go.
You are saying that all these things are created by man and not facts, but we work in a fact based science based world. They are created by man, you can see the tests that we have learned from and the historical background of progress to make them better.
You have a book, written by syncophants and men up to hundreds of years after the death of the supposed man you are talking about. Do I personally believe a man named Jesus existed, eeeh, I can't prove it. I can't prove the myth of any Greek, Roman, Hindu etc Gods either. So sure everyone can have their own beliefs in myth. That's fine. But one thing all those have in common is they are based on a few writings and a lot of oral history. The air, the sun, hell the cars, those have repeated verified progress with visual evidence. That is fact. Not belief. Don't get them mixed. Have a Blessed Day!
And Jesus is brought by the devil as a distraction to try and divert humans from belief in the one true God.
And THERE’S a thought.
He Who Breathes, don't forget to take your medication, and attend all of your psycho therapy sessions.
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William, what you are saying is simply just not true. There is ample evidence of Jesus being a real, historical figure. If you take the time to investigate, you will find many skeptics, like yourself, who set out to prove that Christ was not real. They discovered they were wrong, and then wrote books about it.
And please be careful with the supernatural things in the world. There is a very good reason why Catholic exorcists are so busy.
@Pastor Jody S. There is indeed ample evidence of a man named Jesus having existed, but the Son of God bit is completely unprovable. People of the time were uneducated and superstitious believing in angels, demons, magic, potions, myths and other hocus pocus. Today too, I suppose -- why else would exorcists be "so busy"? (and have you any proof of such busy-ness? Haven't heard a thing about it.)
This is like 12 years ago when Family Christian Radio spent half a billion dollars on billboards saying God was ending the world on May 21. They even said the Bible Guarantees it.
Ask who is behind this? Answer is there are several billionaires who have a political agenda and are using the Christians and the Christian religion to pull it off. It's a scam.
Just think of how many starving children you could save with that kind of money.
How about "Be a goddess"! Free instructions in my home.
I wouldn't go anywhere to save any starving people. They might try to bite off my arms and legs, and eat them. Send me a megaphone, and I'll shout out the directions to a soup kitchen, from a healthy distance away.
I'm sure the children of Somalia, Turkey, and Syria will thank you for the directions. They won't hurt you, Carl. It's the Capitalists who will eat you.
This sort of use should result in a tax notice from the IRS. Personally I think any expenditure other than something directly given to charity should be taxed.
Christianity should promote itself by its charitable actions, not by its wasteful spending on high tech advertising. Imagine the image if Christian donors fed the hungry, housed the poor, immunized the children. This billion-dollar marketing campaign is about as non-Christian as possible. What approach would the historic Jesus have employed??? Rev Bob in WA
I have seen the ads. Wondered who was behind them. Times have changed since Jesus day and our methods of communicating and evangelizing must change as well. If thus reaches Eve one unsaved soul and brings them to Chridt then it is worthwhile
Colleen, I wish someone would bring me to Christ, so I can laugh at him in his face.
Colleen, I think Jesus would rather they tell people about the money they've given to help the poor, the disabled, and those suffering from illness. It speaks much louder than a TV commercial or billboard.
I guess that eventually we'll have pro Islam ads. Pro Secularism ads should go down well, as we are headed in that direction. What do you think?🤔
I've seen a couple of the ads. My opinion: Waste. Of. Money. "He gets us." OK. And....? So what?
Maybe spend all that money doing the things Jesus taught. Feed the hungry. Shelter the homeless. Clothe the needy. Provide medical care for the sick, the young, and the elderly.
People with wealth and the ability to organize a campaign could have used their abilities to do all that for others. They just didn't.
Jesus doesn't need an ad campaign to sell Jesus to people. Jesus wanted people to go out and do things for others. Christians should be advertising a loving, compassionate way of life every single minute of the day through honesty, sincerity, giving, and compassion. Jesus "getting" people is irrelevant. The followers of Jesus helping others and making the world a better place to live for other people is very relevant. The former is a meaningless concept that no one can do anything with. The latter is real life action that people can experience and emulate.
All I see is another group of self-labeled Christians who totally missed the teachings of Christ.
And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.
Mark 16:15 ESV
You’ve been reading that book again haven’t you, David? Just as an FYI, the Harry Potter books are also fiction, just in case you believe everything you read.
It seems funny to me when Christ got his feet anointed that everybody complained the gal spent too much money on that and they should have gave the money to the poor I'm just saying we sit through advertisements of these wonderful drugs they have to stop the spread of AIDS why not let somebody promote any idea they have on religion at the same opportunity level
Makes me not want to watch the Super Bowl. Maybe I can fast forward or go get something to eat during the ads. Next they will be wanting to do the half-time show.
There is so much hate against Christians in the media that I think it's a good move for them. They obviously think it's money well spent and I don't disagree. Christianity is taught to spread the word of God and the media is going to reach out to a lot of people at once.
There wouldn't be any hate towards Christians if they would act like Christ taught us to act and stop using their version of Christianity as a political weapon to control others to their liking. Faith without works is dead.
Just like every other religion or large group of people there are all kinds; some good, some not so good. Basing our own behavior on the behavior of others is something three year olds do, it's not at all attractive in adults.
If any of my fellow DD'ers (ULC'ers who have assumedly researched the non-religious history of Jesus) can (is able to) post an example, of a credible historian (non-religious) primary-source citation, providing evidence that an actual historical Jesus -- ever existed -- such a DD'er will be the first to do so.
FYI "Josephus" -- is not such a reliable primary source.
And interestingly, no contemporary historian, of the times the said Jesus was supposed to have been alive, ever wrote about him. 🤷🏼
I wonder how many are still searching for Zeus in their heart 🤭
Jesus needs ads..Jesus!
This is shoving your religious beliefs down somebody else's throat. It's what I strongly dislike about yhe whole Jesus movement.
If theybwamt to make a difference or put their message out, stop the yammering anf walk the wall. I was an RN. My work was dedicated to God. The longer that I did it, the better that I got. If youbwant people to respect you and your POV, first of all you don't just come knocking at someone's door and expect an interested audience. Youvtreat people like people, like they are good friends or family. You don't judge. You accept them as they are. Unconfitional love is the greatest love that we can give to another person, especially if theu are alone and don't have a voice.
You want people to respect you? You tespect them and their religious beliefs and traditions. I get the reason why they are doing it. It's to counteract all of the satanic rubbish that is also being shoved down people's throats. Do two wrongs make a right? I don't think so.
I believe that God made different religions so that they can come yo know Him/Het. There's always ruality. Jesus fid not do it alone. He had his wife, Mary Magdalene and the restvof his disciples. I know that this last sentence will raise some eyeballs, butbthe scriptures that they have been findingband painstakingly putting them back together demonstrate this.
@Rev. Laurie G. Cleveland RN
God did not make different religions. Man did. Still does.
Being an ELDER,( that is through age,)I believe the money could have been spent better elsewhere. A much smaller amount could have been use in a targeted market such as the politicians and the so called Evangelical "Christians". Our friends, our neighbours The homeless, the people that truly believe in the lies hey are being fed, on a daily basis, on a platter, and unchecked. An interesting theme was presented a few years ago. All it said was "WWJD" What would Jesus do? If. and when, you can answer that with an open heart and an open mind, THEN, PERHAPS, SOME PEOPLE WILL LEARN MEANING OF CHRISTIANITY.
Follow the money. Who benefits of this Billion ? Certainly not an anti-clerical CEO... 1 Billion dollar from one million Christian's pocket to one Christian pocket through a ads campaign... this is call a win-win...
Blessing Rev. Jean-Anasthase
@Rev. Jean-Anasthase You missing the part that these billionaires are using God to spread their political agendas to make more money.
This makes me mad, to no end. It isn't anyone's job to "convert" people. This is mega churches and companies losing money so they want to draw people in and spit them out, like they always have.
You don't have to watch commercials.
That's right Ehrman, the dull and ignorant do have full and ignorant stories (respectively), and you can listen to them all you want, but I always have better things to do.
Jesus got lonely, the ads say. Jesus felt marginalized. Jesus lived in poverty. Jesus accepted everyone.
Jesus was just like you.
These ads are the height of hypocrisy. Is Mr. Hobby Lobby living in poverty? Is he accepting of everyone or just White straight Evangelical Christians? Jesus sat and ate with the poor, the sick, those seeking. He turned no one away. He didn't ask if they were LGBTQ. To me, these ads are almost breaking the words of Jesus in Matthew 6:5-6. "Pray not on street corners as the hypocrites do..."
Musk, Mr. Hobby Lobby, and other billionaires should be using their money to help finance solutions for education (not just Christian), hunger, homelessness, and diseases. Instead of putting into their own pockets. Or spending millions smuggling illegal artifacts from countries and stealing their cultural and religious histories.
Sorry, I get on a soapbox sometimes.
Interesting thought Vicky I do happen to know that billionaires such as some of the backers of the Jesus advertisements do donate to charities in a way bigger amount than they would ever tell in public and I see no problem with trying to evangelize there's always somebody that can be helped I help in a food bank and we see the same people every week getting a shopping cart full of odds and ends to eat for the most part they seem grateful and it was very fun making new friends that come by and visit every week
The money could be better spent elsewhere heh well that's a no brainer. These acts are definatly not Greater Works. Sad.
I am not particularly fond of the ads or messages but hey, if you can promote secular musicians and entertainment, you should certainly be able to promote Jesus. Can the money be better spent? Of course, but so could profits from Pepsi, Frito-Lays or other Super Bowl Advertisers. So does it bother you to see a Pepsi commercial if you are a Coca Cola drinker? I think not. I really don't know how many converts Pepsi gets through advertising but probably the same amount as the Jesus commercials do, (few). Seems to be money better spent by private individuals than spent by the government. I am also confident that those who contribute in this manner also contribute to the welfare of humankind via donations, etc.
It makes a mockery of it all! Jesus for sale? Sell tickets to heaven, only a quarter of a million each. 😇😑
Seriously, the ads are just not very good. They just don't seem like they would motivate anyone to buy Jesus. When I first heard about this outrageously expensive campaign, I at least expected them to be something special for all that money. Instead they're just blah. The tagline is "Jesus gets us"? Ok, and...what? On to the next commercial to ignore. $10 million for the Superbowl seems like a bad buy. The main demographic of football fans are guys that probably identify as Christians anyway. So I guess try to sell them more trucks, beer and Jesus?
I as Secretary of my faith is required to pay State taxes on any donation we get.
Spend money on real people's needs? What kind of a Christian idea is that? They are the new christians.. ...every person for themselves and just come to Jesus and he will never give you anything that you cannot handle. You will get rich and tired of winning. Or, and send in your money to us.
Don't forget to plant your seed write it on your check what's your Harvest do you expect
As someone who actually works IN the media, (for the past 37 in television), I would say the authors of The Visionary, 2/8/2023, used a correct phrase when they called the advertising a Hail Mary Pass. However Proverbs 21:20 (KJV) comes to mind, or for some "a fool and his money..." It will be indeed interesting to see the return on investment. Call me skeptical.
why is it that some of the worst spelling, grammar, punctuation and lack of clarity and construction comes from chins here who spout magical words from a fictional book of the fictionalized life of a fictional hippy? all I can say is, go lions
I believe in informed consent, and Christians who predominantly condemn teenage pregnancy and unmarried people conceiving and siring together, do not inform those the preach to that their God violated a child and sired a child out of wedlock. Furthermore, the amount of money going to these ads to promote the cult of Christianity exceeds what it takes to resolve the national homeless crisis in America. Also Christians don’t preach the mystery of Simon the Cyrene who took the cross for Jesus all the way to Golgotha. By informed consent, I mean that potential Christians need to be advised regarding what Christianity in America really is, and that is a dangerous business cult that ought to be taxed like any other business in America and that does not promote what is actually in what they claim to be the unerring Word of God such as the mistranslations and blatant errors in the Bible translations. The LGBT 🏳️🌈 community is hated when Jesus taught to love one another as ourselves. It is not informed consent if people convert without important knowledge of the facts of the religion being preached. Muslims and Bahá’ís as well as most other religious organizations have it right in that there is no proselytizing among them and there is no conversion without informed consent.
They should take that money and make reparations to all the groups that Christians have persecuted during: the "Holy" Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, the Burning times, the the children Priests have raped and to the LBGTQ community.
Pastor Joel Osteen pays himself an annual salary of $54,000,000 from his church profits. He had a custom garage built with 20 car stalls for each of his custom vehicles. His favorite is a Ferrari 458 Italia that cost $270,000. He lives in a 70,000 sq ft mansion.
In the New Testament, four different times Jesus tells his followers to always pay their taxes. Why is it in the United States that churches don’t have to pay taxes? The IRS figures if all churches paid their fair share of 15% taxes that it would total over $2 trillion a year.
More than enough to solve the homelessness in this country, since it looks like these Pastors would rather spend your donations on New Cars instead of feeding the hungry.
The money would have been better spent doing what “Jesus” did. HELPING PEOPLE!