Sign outside church - photo by Mark Lehigh

Advertising Christianity

Christianity in 30 seconds? Where do you start? Ali Burnett is looking for people who ‘get’ media, all around the UK.

Bear with me and prepare to do Christmas in June for a moment. Have a listen to these, they’re just 30 seconds each.

They all have one thing in common. Each one has been broadcast on entirely secular, music-led, commercial radio stations – where 90% of the audience is pretty well guaranteed to be either sceptic, agnostic or at most, part-time believer.

But the ads stand up. One radio sales rep who heard them for years commented to me “Your radio ads made me go to church, and it’s a really happy place. They don’t have a pushy message.” I wasn’t crass enough to ask her if she’d found the Lord (none of my business, in one sense) but I was, naturally, delighted. She is just one of 15 million who hear or see our campaign annually.

One or two people were kind enough to agree with my last blog that advertising was a “good idea” for the Church, but no one responded to the invitation to become a ChurchAds rep in their area. Please think about it; could this be you? We need people who understand the power of media and advertising. Churches, by and large, don’t.

ChurchAds is a charity; we pay to make radio and other ads, but we don’t have the local input needed to get them onto radio – the big local music stations like Heart, Capital, or Bauer – or onto hoardings, digital boards, local web outlets. Start an advertising budget for churches in your area, get 20 to give £50 or £100 each, and you could reach hundreds of thousands and get everyone talking! So far, ChurchAds’ “Christmas Starts With Christ” campaign has only been annual, but a few areas are now beginning to use radio and supporting online media at Easter, Father’s Day, or other midyear events. We’d like to see more. But we need a rep in every county or region who “gets it”. The ads don’t get broadcast without that person.

You need to be an activist, someone with the chutzpah to approach inter-church purse-string-holders or Treasurers/leaders, and say “Will you each give or pledge so much money by such and such a date?” But if you are a mover and shaker, in the words of the old WW1 posters, your country needs YOU. Without you, our ads will remain under the table. With your help, we can light the lamp and put it on top of the table, where everyone will see – and hear – it. (See Matthew 5!) One recent Easter radio campaign got 800 responses in its opening 16 hours – from NON churchgoers. Contact ali@churchads.net if you want to help advance the Kingdom of God where you live in a respectful, non-pushy, professional way which WORKS.

“This is proper Heineken mission: an opportunity to reach the parts of society the Church doesn’t normally reach … we think the ads are humorous, sparky, attractive – and show the church in a good light. Please be part of this campaign.”

Rt Revd Mark Rylands, Bishop of Shrewsbury

Paul Arnold
paul@themedianet.org
  • Good piece Ali, made me sit up and take notice! Let me think more on it