One of the adverts that ran during the Super Bowl, the annual US football final playoff game, showed scenes of violence and disorder before the words ‘Jesus loved the people we hate’ popped up on the screen.
The campaign known as “He Gets Us” has appeared online and takes over billboards and airwaves across the United States with the goal of presenting Jesus in a new light to Millennials and Gen Z.
A Christian group is funding this project with a war chest of over $100 million (about £85 million) to promote Jesus Christ and the values they believe He held.
One would have expected a Super Bowl advert to plug things like a fizzy drinks, sports shoes and fashion lines, but the most talked about commercial of the day after the big game was selling Jesus.
The “He Gets Us” campaign is run by the Servant Foundation, a non-profit organisation based in Kansas, which is also known as The Signatry. According to their website, their funding comes from various sources: “Most of the people driving He Gets Us, including our donors, choose to remain anonymous because the story isn’t about them, and they don’t want the credit.”
Although, David Green, the billionaire founder of arts and crafts chain store Hobby Lobby, confirmed in November that he was one of the main donors of the $100 Million in the campaign’s fund.
The “He Gets Us” organisation is proud to point out that their latest campaign was successful in attracting attention, citing two marketing firms which rated the campaign among the most talked about Super Bowl ads online. This is confirmed by Google data, which showed a big spike in searches for the campaign during the game.
“A lot of times, the perception is that Christianity is kind of working against people,” according to Jason Vanderground, the campaign spokesperson. He said, “We wanted to help them see that in Jesus, there was someone who had a lot of common experiences just like they did.”
Vanderground explained that the “He Gets Us” campaign has two main goals: “Increase the respect and personal relevancy of Jesus,” and “encourage Christians to follow the example of Jesus in how they treat other people.”
The push to promote Jesus with a slick marketing campaign comes amid a trend of negative opinions surrounding religion, including Christianity, especially in the United States and Europe. However, Christianity is growing and becoming more popular in Africa and Asia.