An Atheist Marketing Jesus

September 20, 2005 by

There’s an interesting story in The Australian about the Jesus: All About Life marketing campaign we covered last month. Apparently one of the guys behind the campaign is Angus Kinnaird, a self-described “non-believing humanist.”

“I’ve had lots of clients wanting to update their image,” says the Melbourne strategy director of FutureBrand. “But I don’t think I’ve ever come across one that has quite as many problems as the church.”

Ouch. Yet so true. The article goes on to talk about the details of the campaign, including some specific numbers: 250,000 postcards, 140 TV ads, 200 radio spots, 30 billboards, 7 newspaper ads; so far 1,500 have requested the Jesus: All About Life booklet and 8,500 have visited the web site.


The Strategy
Also of interest was the research behind the strategy for focusing on Jesus.

Why Jesus? “That was the only place we had to go,” Kinnaird says. The research shows that the church is almost an insurmountable obstacle to the campaign. “The church was seen as the problem, not the solution,” he says.

Other similar campaigns focused on the power of Christianity to change peopleā€”but that didn’t go over well either.

“The problem we detected from our research was that a lot of Australians see Christianity as being for losers,” Kinnaird says. “Focusing on personal crisis as the reason for talking to the church would simply reinforce the existing perception that the Christian church is a place for people who have failed.”

Is the Atheist Convinced?
And you can’t help but wonder what Kinnaird thinks of Jesus after the whole project:

Kinnaird admits he remains to be convinced, despite his work on the strategy. “No,” he says. “But, then, I’ve also done Crown Casino and I’m not a regular gamer, so I can feel comfortable one way or another, can’t I?”

Post By:

Kevin D. Hendricks


When Kevin isn't busy as the editor of Church Marketing Sucks, he runs his own writing and editing company, Monkey Outta Nowhere. Kevin has been blogging since 1998 and has published several books, including 137 Books in One Year: How to Fall in Love With Reading, The Stephanies and all of our church communication books.
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4 Responses to “An Atheist Marketing Jesus”

  • thehouseblog
    September 21, 2005

    Marketing Jesus

    I normally don’t copy somebody else’s post and put it here, but this is just way to good.


  • Michael Rew
    September 22, 2005

    “The problem we detected from our research was that a lot of Australians see Christianity as being for losers,” Kinnaird says. “Focusing on personal crisis as the reason for talking to the church would simply reinforce the existing perception that the Christian church is a place for people who have failed.”
    But the Church IS for losers and failures. All of us have been lost, and all of us have failed to live righteously, which is why we need the Savior.


  • Tim
    October 5, 2005

    It may just be me but i would never ask someone to market for me who wasn’t sold on my product at least a little bit. How would an atheist know what draws people to church in the first place – at least in the most profitable and productive way? I’m not interested. Give me a marketer who has a grasp on God in some way shape or form. They don’t need to come to my church, but at the very least – the could like God. I don’t think the Casino=Church analogy works here.


  • dean
    November 4, 2008

    Looking at marketing through the eyes of someone that isn’t sold on your product is exactly what churches need to be doing more of.
    When the church only listens to what church people think your focus isn’t on reaching – it’s about pleasing.



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