A $100 million effort launched this year is blanketing cities and the web, aiming to redeem Jesus’ brand from the damage done by some of his followers.
Billboards with messages like “Jesus let his hair down, too” and “Jesus went all in, too,” have been posted in major markets like New York City and Las Vegas. And ads featuring black-and-white online videos about Jesus as a rebel, an activist or a host of a dinner party have been viewed more than 300 million times, according to orgnizers.
The He Gets Us campaign, funded by the Signatry, a Christian foundation based in Kansas, will expand in the next few months, with an updated website, an online store where people can get free gear if they forgive someone or welcome a stranger, and an outreach program for churches, all leading up to a Super Bowl ad.
Jon Lee, one of the chief architects of the campaign, said organizers hope to start a movement of people who want to tell a better story about Jesus and act like him.
“Our goal is to give voice to the pent-up energy of like-minded Jesus followers, those who are in the pews and the ones that aren’t, who are ready to reclaim the name of Jesus from those who abuse it to judge, harm and divide people,” said Lee, a principal at Lerma, a cross-cultural advertising agency based in Dallas.
Jason Vanderground, president of Haven, a branding firm based in Grand Haven, Mich., said the movement hopes to bridge the gap between the story of Jesus and the public perception of his followers. The campaign has done extensive market research and found that, while many Americans like Jesus, they are skeptical of his followers. ..
“Jesus said, ‘People are going to know my followers by the way they love each other and the way they interact with each other,’ ” Vanderground said. “I think when we look at American Christianity now, we don’t see nearly as much of that — and that concerns a lot of people.”
If you had $300 million dollars to spend, would you spend it on an ad campaign advertising Jesus? I’ll confess. When I heard about the “He Gets Us” campaign—a massive ad campaign trying to introduce Americans to the person of Jesus Christ—I was skeptical.