The only celebrity bigger than Taylor Swift will be joining her in promoting the Super Bowl.
That’s right: Jesus Christ is coming to Super Bowl LVIII.
A popular Catholic prayer app called Hallow is hoping a costly advertisement during the Super Bowl will result in millions of bowed heads and clasped hands during the February 11th showdown between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers.
The full price tag of Hallow’s ad is unknown, but the average cost of a 30-second ad for Super Bowl LVIII is around $7 million – so it's safe to say it won't be cheap.
Although some support using the funds to spread the word about online prayer, others argue the money could be better spent elsewhere.
Is the future of faith digital? And does Jesus need a million dollar advertising campaign?
Likes and Prayers
Hallow is the most popular Christian prayer app on the marketplace. For a cost of just $9.99/month, you can join a community that’s submitted over 100 million online prayers, and counting.
The app prompts users to pray every day through guided 5-60 minute recorded meditations, even allowing them to set background noises including "gentle rain" and "Gregorian chanting" – personalization that it says brings the experience to the next level and allows users to “pray their own way.”
Now, Hallow is hoping to tap into a new audience: football fans. They recently announced that a 30-second Hallow ad – starring Mark Wahlberg and Jonathan Roumie – will air just before the halftime show during Super Bowl LVIII.
The ad will air in some 15 markets, constituting nearly half of the more than 100 million anticipated Super Bowl viewers. The whole thing is under wraps for now, but you can view a teaser below:
Jesus Christ, Influencer?
This isn’t the first Jesus-centric marketing campaign to air during the Super Bowl in recent years.
In 2022, a group called He Gets Us launched a $100 million marketing blitz for Jesus Christ, including prominent spots during that year's Super Bowl.
That continued in this year's Super Bowl with a memorable ad depicting the washing of feet:
The idea that Jesus Christ – arguably the most recognizable person in human history – needs an advertising campaign struck some as silly. Others pondered why millions of dollars were going towards marketing Jesus, when that money could be going to more pressing causes, such as helping the needy.
Meanwhile, other Christians saw the ad as heretical:
The Future of Prayer
Hallow is a business, of course – and clearly they're hoping the investment will bring more prayer-makers to the app. But once again, some critics are balking at the idea of a faith group spending millions on advertising when there are so many people in need in their own communities.
And yet… what if the future of faith really is online? After all, we live in a world where TikTok videos translating Bible verses into Gen-Z slang get millions of views, AI Jesus is streaming on Twitch, and there are hundreds (if not thousands) of Bible apps on phones and tablets.
With that in mind, clearly the folks at Hallow see this Super Bowl as a major opportunity to expand Christian worship in the age of the internet.
Where do you stand? Is this multi-million dollar advertisement a frivolous expense, or a smart move to keep prayer on people's minds – and at their fingertips?