Thousands of people are responding to Church adverts featuring the face of Jesus in a beer glass, following the start of the Churches Advertising Network’s Christmas 2006 campaign in the last few days.
The controversial posters which are on poster sites around the country and supported by a series of radio adverts on some 30 plus commercial radio stations direct people to the website www.myspace.com/isthisjesus which has seen a growing number of visitors to the site each day, with increasing numbers signing up to become friends of ‘isthisjesus’.
The website manager, Simon Jenkins said: “We’re currently getting approximately 1200 visitors per day… based on the past 24 hours of activity. Some 1,253 myspacers have signed up as friends of isthisjesus and the myspace profile has been viewed 41,892 times since we launched.”
The visits to the website have been increasing daily as more and more people either hear the radio adverts or see the posters, with many people responded directly to the campaign with comments on myspace.
The attention-grabbing posters, which ask the question: ‘Where do you find him?’ are supported by a series of radio adverts on commercial radio stations including Kiss100FM London, the Galaxy Network of stations and many local and regional commercial stations. Both the poster and the radio ads link to the youth forum website myspace.com to encourage discussion and debate.
This year’s poster picks up on the current media preoccupation for finding images of Jesus in everything from egg yolks to currant buns. Next to an empty beer glass in which a face can be seen are the words ‘Where will you find him?’ and the web address ‘myspace.com/isthisjesus’. The myspace.com/isthisjesus webspace has links through to the rejesus.co.uk website, giving information on the Christian faith and further links through to local churches. The radio adverts, created from a series of vox pops interviews, feature young people talking about their own experiences of God, with the aim of stimulating discussion and linking to the myspace page.
The adverts have been created by top radio advertising agency, Radioville whose clients include Nationwide, Autoglass, Lexus, Carphone Warehouse and Harrods. Richard Johnston, of Radioville, who led the creative team said, “It’s about getting under the radar of 18 to 25 year-olds who may not think of themselves as religious to encourage them to engage with something spiritual. It was therefore essential to have some sort of interactive element, and because of its profile and audience MySpace provides the perfect platform”
CAN chairman, Francis Goodwin, said: “This year’s campaign is designed to get people talking and help spark off discussions about God; our new link to myspace is proving a vital part of making that happen. We also hope it will provide a starter for discussions about God and Jesus, whether that’s in the office, at home or down the pub.”
Around 2000 posters have now gone up at sites across the country as part of a major outdoor campaign – run in co-operation with Titan (outdoor advertisers), who offered the space at preferential rates – with the potential to reach some 13 million people, in addition to posters that will appear outside churches and on pre-Christmas publicity. Churches and Christian groups throughout the country have also bought airtime to broadcast the radio adverts on their local commercial radio stations. The radio adverts themselves are being provided free of charge, thanks to sponsorship from Jerusalem Productions, which is wholly owned by the Jerusalem Trust, a registered charity.
CAN, the Churches Advertising Network, is an independent and ecumenical group of Church communicators which for the past 15 years has produced a series of striking poster and radio adverts. Past campaigns have included ‘Bad Hair Day’ and ‘Meek ; Mild, As if’ (featuring the now famous ‘Che’ image of Christ, recently on display at the V&A museum). Last year’s radio campaign for CAN, also by Radioville and voiced by BBC radio presenter, Simon Mayo, was broadcast on 36 radio stations during December, including the Galaxy Network and Kiss100FM. The campaign scooped the Andrew Cross Award for best radio advert or promotion 2005.
The adverts are available on line and can be downloaded at http://www.churchads.org.uk/