Denominational Marketing Campaigns

November 17, 2008 by

Across the nation, denominations are finding themselves in financial and ethical trouble. As they look to maintain a centralized model of connecting individuals with local churches, they face problems ranging from finances to what stances to take on hot-button issues. So a couple of denominations are turning to advertising campaigns.

We looked at this idea over the summer with the Episcopal Ad Project, but will either of these new initiatives go down in history like the pithy copy of the Episcopal Ad Project?

We are Southern Baptists.
The plan: exude confidence and communicate, “Hey! We’re not so bad! Look at what we’re doing!” Throw in some ugly font treatments and that commonly-used “We are” advertising starter, and you’ve got all the makings for an ad campaign to reinforce the status quo. We Are Marshall was inspiring. We Are Southern Baptists? Not the same.

Rethink church.
The United Methodist Church is launching their campaign in the spring, but it will center on the question “What if we began thinking of ‘church’ as a verb instead of a noun?” The campaign will roll out on World Malaria Day, April 25th. This is actually a new idea to most people who have been turned off by churches, and I think it will complement their “Open minds. Open hearts. Open doors.” campaign well. Only time will tell if denominations will struggle when they let the cat out of the bag that churches are not actually buildings.

Post By:

Joshua Cody


Josh Cody served as our associate editor for several years before moving on to bigger things. Like Texas. These days he lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife, and you can find him online or on Twitter when he's not wrestling code.
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4 Responses to “Denominational Marketing Campaigns”

  • Bob
    November 17, 2008

    How about just let denoms die? Convert the worthwhile resources into missional orgs and kill the devisive, money grubbing that denoms currently provide.


  • Paul Edison-Swift
    November 17, 2008

    Check out the brand mark campaign and TV ads from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America at http://www.elca.org/brand


  • Michael
    November 18, 2008

    Eh, I preferred my idea for a Southern Baptist ad campaign:
    “We are Southern Baptist.
    You will be evangelized.
    Resistance is futile.”
    As for United Methodists?
    “You might be surprised what you find in your prayer closet!”


  • Jen
    October 3, 2009

    The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) is doing the same thing. The theme is “God’s work. Our hands.” Most of the ads incorporate images of ministry to others (e.g. feeding the hungry in a soup kitchen) with an image of the cross slipped in somewhere clever (e.g. in the bowl of soup). You can watch the ads at http://www.elca.org.



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