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Are you familiar with the 'He Gets Us' campaign? I first heard about the campaign last fall and at the time spent just a few minutes browsing the He Gets Us website

I kind of forgot about the campaign until last night when I was watching the Super Bowl and saw the two 'He Gets Us' commercials. After seeing the commercials, my knee-jerk reaction was "How much did that cost?" 

My husband's quick Google search turned up the following MLive article with the price tag:

The “He Gets Us” Super Bowl commercials, 30-second and 60-second spots, cost roughly $20 million.

My second question, "What did they hope to accomplish with the commercials?" 

I struggle a bit (a lot?) with how this money was spent. I can't help but think of a few other ways to spend it.

But also, I haven't taken much time to research the campaign or better understand the hearts of those behind it and I still plan and need to do this. 

Did you see the commercials? What did you think? 


Hi Staci,

I don't watch the Super Bowl, so I did not see those particular ads.  I have seen their campaign more broadly.  Though I share your struggle with the immense sum of money spent on two ads, I have more concern about the campaign in general.  I think Natasha Crain's critique hits home on a number of important points.  In the end, any Jesus who is not explicitly the Son of God is an empty Jesus.

7 Problems with the He Gets Us Campaign | Natasha Crain

Crain points out some valid points, but I think she makes some assumptions about the goal of the campaign. Carey Nieuwhof interviewed Bill McKendry, one of the people behind the campaign, who explains their thought process.  Basically, he points out that there is only so much that a 30 second ad can convey.  They are trying to meet people where they are and inspire curiosity about Jesus. When a pastor asked him when the He Gets Us campaign is going to address Jesus' divinity and our need of Him as the only Savior, McKendry responded, "We aren't. You are."

He also pointed out that while the cost may be astronomical in our minds, it is actually a good investment.

You can hear it all here:

Hi Nate,

Thanks for engaging.  Did Crain not quote the president of the marketing agency behind the ad campaign as saying “Ultimately, the goal is inspiration, not recruitment or conversion.”  And she rightly points it a number of times that the "inspirational" Jesus that they point to is not the God-man Savior, but a nice guy who gets us. It seems like she is not making assumptions about the goal, but responding to a stated goal. 

The problem with McKendry's reply above is several-fold.  First, they specifically say in their FAQ that the goal is not to get people to go to church, so they are essentially working against the "you tell 'em who Jesus is, pastor" model.  Second, if *all* of their material simply pictures Jesus a nice guy who understands us and promoted peace and love, what about that description would drive people to a church or conversation with a pastor to hear the gospel?  What makes Jesus stand out, then, if he is not explicitly the Son of God?  Why would I care that he understands me?  If he is just a guy in history, his understanding or lack thereof is meaningless to me.  Third, much of their depiction of Jesus will work *against* what the proverbial pastor will try to communicate regarding who Jesus really is - as Crain notes, the campaign feeds and echos pop culture ideas of Jesus rather than contradicting them.  

I will grant this: the first rule of advertising is to be memorable (or create buzz/visibility). The saying has been heard that any publicity is good publicity.  There is a reason that McDonalds doesn't care how much I hate their jingle as long as it sticks in my head. I don't love that philosophy for the church, but to that extent, this campaign may have some success despite its weaknesses/faults.  Some people may become curious and God may use that to draw them to himself.  I don't think that excuses the weaknesses/faults.  

I agree that the bait and switch game seems to be at play.  If they are saying that they don't have a goal of people going to church, but actually they have a goal of people exploring who Jesus is by reading the Bible and asking questions of pastors, that is being less than fully honest and counterproductive.

I do know that my brother, who is in their target audience of religiously skeptic, appreciated the ads and wants to know more.

"I do know that my brother, who is in their target audience of religiously skeptic, appreciated the ads and wants to know more."

Nate, for that I praise God.  In the end, God can and will use even our most flawed efforts for his ends.  May it be that God wills to draw your brother near such that he may move from skeptic to adopted son.  

I confess I have not seen the commercial, but, judging from all the comments, I’d say off hand, that the commercials were successful in their objectives including those (7 comments on  the “He Gets Us)“campaign by Natasha Crain. I think the primary objective of that campaign IS to get people talking about Jesus, who is He etc. Crain. makes valid points, but how does she expect all that information into a one minute commercial, ok, add another thirty second?

I say, we’ll done, bravo!

Jesus said, "Whoever is not against us, is for us."  I think this is a great opportunity for us—not to live in fear or retribution, but to see the campaign as a jumping off point for a conversation about Jesus, the world and each person's need for God.  If there is hollow theology in places, that is an opportunity to fill someone in with truth (graciously)!  

While looking at the "He Gets Us" website and ad "Jesus didn't want us to act like adults", I was was concerned at first about the assumption that "child-like" means innocence, but that is the assumpted starting place of many in our culture.  The article went on to distinguish between the childish or "selfish" quality and the child-like qualities of "receptivity" and "humility" to which we are called to imitate Christ Jesus.

May we have the wisdom to use the cultural icons and even idols with cunning and winsome attention to people where they are at, so that Christ can meet them there!

I get the criticisms regarding the ads.  However, believing Christians need to get past those criticisms.  Why?  Because the ads are a done deal.

the focus should be on - what does a follow-up conversation look like with a a deconstructed Christian or a non-believer.


- Why did you think commercials were interesting?

- what do you think the ads were communicating?

- why is it a big deal that a man 2,000 years ago gets us?

- AND listen to responses (let them talk) and in a conversation get to the place and important question : Jesus - Who do you say I am?

Grace and peace




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