Jesus Beer Billboard Prank

July 18, 2006 by

King of Jews/King of Beers billboardOK, this isn’t strictly church marketing, but it made me laugh. Someone covered up a billboard in downtown Houston with their own billboard featuring a picture of Jesus holding a can of Budweiser and the phrases “King of Jews” and “King of Beers”. It appears to be vandalism–professional looking vandalism–and has been up for a week or more.

I’ll let you draw your own conclusions on this one.

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.
Read more posts by | Want to write for us?

33 Responses to “Jesus Beer Billboard Prank”

  • Chris Harrison
    July 18, 2006

    Makes me thirsty for Jesus.

  • Kenny
    July 18, 2006

    I bet it gives ya a Holy Hangover.

  • Ben J Walker
    July 18, 2006

    It’s pretty cool… my two favourite things!
    But can anyone hazard a guess as to what the actual message behind it is? Why did these people go to such lengths!?

  • Marcus Monroe
    July 18, 2006

    You think that’s funny. My school and place of employment recently got a new sign to place on a rather busy street. During the “Demo” of the sign after they turned it on, this is what showed up:

  • Jon Kash
    July 18, 2006

    I do not consider myself conservative, but yet feel this vandalism should be removed. While some “seekers” may find it amusing, the majority of people will be offended. It is also another excuse for atheists to say, “That’s why I’m not a Christian.”

  • Peter Walker
    July 18, 2006

    Is it such a big deal to be offensive? Christians are offended about everything – it doesn’t take a Jesus Beer Ad to do it. Try walking into my suburban church with a mohawk or green hair. THAT’S apostasy!
    Peter Walker

  • dognmoon
    July 18, 2006

    well said, Peter. It takes a whole lot less than beer.

  • Justin
    July 18, 2006

    Didn’t Jesus turn water into wine?
    Maybe He’s not as offended by strong drink as we want Him to be…
    (I laughed at the billboard…hehe!)

  • John Mulholland
    July 18, 2006

    “Didn’t Jesus turn water into wine?”
    No, it was Welch’s grape juice…

  • RC of strangeculture
    July 19, 2006

    That is some impressive vandalism, just think if they were in charge of church marketing at your church…not only would they do high quality work, but they might just do it for free.

  • David Zimmerman
    July 19, 2006

    The most insulting part to me is that Jesus is holding a Bud. Everyone knows Jesus is a Guiness-man.

  • John Mulholland
    July 19, 2006

    “The most insulting part to me is that Jesus is holding a Bud. Everyone knows Jesus is a Guiness-man.”
    A loaf of bread in every can….

  • Mike Ellis
    July 19, 2006

    Betcha a radio station is behind it. Pls do a follow up story about who was truly behind it.

  • Matt
    July 19, 2006

    Aaah! He’s at it again! First at Cana and now here!

  • David Tensen
    July 19, 2006

    I wonder why it’s been up for over a week now. Wouldn’t the company that actually PAID for the space want it back? Strange… Publicity

  • Gene Mason
    July 20, 2006

    I’m surprised I’m going to be the only party-pooper here, but is no one else absolutely insulted by this? This is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and everybody is having a nice chuckle. Have we as the church lost reverence and respect for Almighty God to the point that this is FUNNY? If so, then only God can help us.
    In Bible times God was so revered that they would not even write His name. If we don’t treat Jesus Christ as Someone that should be beyond this kind of degrading slap in the face, why should we expect the lost world to take us and our God seriously? This disgusts me.

  • Peter Walker
    July 20, 2006

    See Gene, I appreciate your piety (honestly I do, that wasn’t a slam) but your comment is exactly what I was talking about earlier. Christians are far too easily offended.
    You’re right – in another time and culture (i.e. empires and monarchies) God was revered as a king, a monarch, a ruler.
    In egalitarian, democratic USAmerica, we created Buddy Jesus in our image. And that’s not good either, but let’s not assume that just because we were afraid of “Ruler Jesus” that that was the correct view, either.
    The reason people here are having a good chuckle is because they KNOW that most Christians (well meaning, pious, but a little reactionary at times) will see this, become knee-jerk-horrified, and want to protest.
    We’re not laughing at Jesus. We’re laughing at a secular culture that is so strangely attracted to the idea and person of Jesus, but so equally terrified by the religion of his namesake, and the subculture built around it. AND we’re laughing at the RELIGIOUS culture that is so worried about someone offending Jesus that they treat the God of the Universe like a breakable china doll.
    I know I could be a little more reverent, so you’re right there. I grew up with Buddy Jesus. But I’m glad I can look at Christianity and laugh, because there’s a LOT to laugh at.
    And if I wasn’t able to laugh, I’d probably be out making picket signs or lobbying.
    feel free to e-mail me at

  • Gene Mason
    July 20, 2006

    Look up the meaning of the word “holy.” God Almighty is holy, set apart, and demands (not requests) reverence and respect due Him. We may not be laughing at Jesus, but we ARE standing by without so much as a “hey, but” while others laugh at Him. I in the middle of a study of Leviticus so maybe this strikes me as especially rude right now given the context of studying the very holiness of God, but it is nonetheless offensive.
    It’s not Jesus who should be adapted to fit our culture. “Be transformed by the renewing of your minds…” The Bible clearly tells us that we are the ones who are to be changed by our relationship with Christ. Some say that this kind of reverence for God is not relevant to today’s culture because we’ve changed from ancient days? I say instead we’ve lost something really important. Reverence helps us display God’s glory, not ours. And is our mission not to glorify God? People will see how holy God is by the way we treat Him and revere Him (this is probably half the teaching of the Old Testament–God saying, “Others will know I am holy when they look at my people…”)
    It’s not piety to be offended if the world doesn’t take Christ seriously. If Christ holding a beer on a billboard does not offend a believer, then I guess I have to really wonder if anything really does. It’s not about the beer can, it’s about the LACK OF RESPECT FOR CHRIST. More and more the body of Christ (or the Americanized church, rather) looks like, act acts like, and I think seeks the confirmation or acceptance of the lost world we are trying to reach. That is just nuts.
    It’s not about protesting or throwing up our hands and wearing our hurt feelings on our sleves. It’s about saying, “This kind of thing is not worthy of the risen Christ who changed my life completely and that I serve with full devotion.” This is the Christ I want people to see in me before they see me. I don’t want people to think it’s okay to mock Him (and make no mistake, this is mockery). It’s not okay with me. Jesus is too holy to allow junk like this to go unanswered.

  • Ben J Walker
    July 20, 2006

    This is turning into more of a theological debate than a marketing one!
    One of the things I love about Jesus is the fact that he is a mighty King and creator and to be feared but at the same time he is my best friend, he is interested in ordinary people. Both sides are valid. And from a marketing perspective maybe it’s good to see Jesus portrayed as someone you could have a cold one with!

  • Peter Walker
    July 20, 2006

    Gene >> I hear you my brother, and I respect your valuing of God’s Word and our precious savior. Let’s not fight, let’s be friends ;) We probably have slightly different worldviews, but we are gathered here as a family.
    Ben >> Well said. Probably the wrong site for theology. On the marketing side, again, I think the church can always take some cues from the outside… that hasn’t always been the case though. Christianity used to be the source of the most progressive art and science in the world. Not so much anymore, though. We tend to make cheap knockoffs of the “real” (secular) thing.
    Anyway, I hope I haven’t stepped on any toes here, particularly yours Gene. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,” and I am far from wise.

  • Gene Mason
    July 21, 2006

    Peter, no hard feelings. I’m simply passionately and wholeheartedly committed to what the Bible says, which is what I firmly believe. :)
    Ben, when “marketing” the church, you can’t separate theology from the picture–in essence you are “selling” what you believe, to put it in somewhat lesser and secular terms. Take everything we do as ministers back to God’s Word, and you must come to the conclusion that there aren’t really “marketing” discussions and “theological” discussions. It always comes down to what we’re asking people to believe in, so…
    They’re all theological discussions.
    That’s why I would take issue with a statement like “It’s good to see Jesus portrayed as someone you could have a cold one with.” Frankly, I’m unconvinced that’s true. What scriptural instruction or foundation is that portraying, and how is it accomplishing God’s mission in the world? Does this whole thing square with Ephesians 4-6 or 1 Timothy 1 or Galatians 5? Okay, those are theological questions, not marketing ones. I’m just saying I believe we as the body of Christ need to be asking them.
    It’s not really about what we think or dream up or “feel”. It’s about what God says. If that was my own on that billboard, would it improve or disgrace my witness for Christ? Would it give an accurate picture not only of who I am but of who Christ is?
    Remember what the Muslims did to that cartoonist who dared to defame Alla’s character in a newspaper’s funny page? Is there any doubt they take their God seriously? If they have that much respect and devotion to a false God, why do we have such a problem finding it for the One True God?
    I know I’m comin’ on strong here, but my desire for church communciations is to first dive into God’s Word, see what it says about the image and holiness of Christ, and then build a marketing practice consistent and in the context of scripture.

  • Peter Walker
    July 21, 2006

    Thanks for not taking it personally :)
    As for not being able to “have a cold one with Jesus”… I think there is a lot of Gospel evidence to the contrary.
    Jesus WAS the kind of “rebel-Rabbi” who came laughing, eating and drinking. I don’t think we should compare our approach to God with the Muslim approach, nor try to validate a similar approach. I don’t think it’s Biblical either.
    Jesus drank wine with the sinners, harlots and tax collectors. Wouldn’t he do the same now?

  • alon
    July 22, 2006

    Not to try and take any fuel from the religious discussion about a billboard but, check out or for some insight to the billboard.

  • Ben J Walker
    July 22, 2006

    Wow… interesting stuff. Love the fact that he’s saying something, and the way he says it… even if there is some odd plays using Christian imagery.
    I’m still wondering what the actual message of this billboard is though? Seems a little vague to me! Is it just to provoke thought about the word ‘King’?!

  • Gene Mason
    July 22, 2006

    If Jesus appeared to you right now in the flesh, would you, knowing Him as Lord, bow down and worship Him, or offer to take him out for a tall cold one? The billboard is about a human image or interpretation of Christ that’s largely inaccurate. I could really care less about that–I keep trying to get at our response as believers.

  • Ben J Walker
    July 23, 2006

    Just to state my point again… it’s not the Jesus is just some buddy… it’s the fact that he is both an awesome mighty God and our friend. They are not mutually exclusive!
    And Jesus is as real as that now! And was as real as that when he was hanging out with sinners and changing water into wine.
    We need to get the balance. We need to know and trust God as our personal friend, and worship him as the almighty powerful God.
    And you’re probably right that there is too much emphasis on the former nowadays, that doesn’t mean we should disregard it though.

  • Peter Walker
    July 23, 2006

    Ben, thank you – well said. Not mutually exclusive.
    Gene, I would FIRST bow down and worship Jesus… then, after I managed to regain my bearings and stop crying (for joy) I’d probably ask if he wanted to go grab an icy-cool Dos Equis with lime.
    But that’s just me. Jesus might be more of a Porter/Stout kind of King of Kings.

  • Wp
    July 24, 2006

    Oh man, I’m sorry , but this is just way too funny.

  • P. Mitchell
    July 26, 2006

    bible doesn’t say don’t drink, says don’t be drunk … [side note: intoxication can come from other things also] however …be not drunk with welchs… hmm.. If it was what Jesus turned water into at the wedding.. um… why save the “best” welchs until later – is there such a thing ? double the water in the first batch ?
    off topic oops… ok… vandals are vandals… not sure God would think it was funny.. our actions speak much louder then our words most of the time, however, it did get you all thinking and talking didn’t it? Myself I was looking for a specific picture and somehow got here LOL
    Be well.

  • Philip
    August 1, 2006

    If you can get the Creator of the universe and Savior of the world to endorse your product, what more do you need? Oops, I guess the church has that endorsement! So why would Bud need it? there’s the question for me. Does not always work for us but works for them? Why?

  • anonymous
    August 2, 2006

    king of the jews…king of brews
    Col. 1:16

  • justin
    October 18, 2006

    Ron English did it, I believe. Google him.

  • jasond
    December 21, 2006

    Well, weather it’s by Ron English or not, it’s clearly wrong. If for no other reason than the 3rd commandment. This is a wrongful use of the name/image of our Lord. Reminds me of the Jesus is my Homeboy t-shirts. I’m kind of surprised that there’s even a debate about it.

Leave a Reply

Off the Wall