The Godbaby advertising campaign

The churches advertising group has launched its Christmas campaign in the last couple of days. To predictable fury.  From Dawkins and the Humanist Society I heard you ask? Of course not. From Christians.  Everybody loves a baby. But when its baby Jesus there are many who want to control the story. There’s objections to the trivia of suggesting that Jesus could be reduced to the level of a plastic doll with all the trimmings (even to the odd wee). There’s objections to the idea that the ability to wee might be an interesting take on the dangerous idea that God became a human being.  Clearly without the capacity to urinate.

It explains why most religious advertising isoften so dull. Making pronouncements which are perceived by those who put them out to be self evidently true. Debate is irrelevant. All that is required is assent.  Often the underlying assmption is that this is an information problem to be addressed. People don’t know that Jesus was born in a manger – so tell them in no uncertain terms. Bish bosh job done. The Godbaby campaign takes a very different tack. It crams together two different ideas: that Christmas is too commercialised (how many times have you heard that said at a Christmas carol service?). And that Jesus was a real baby who was also a figure of global importance – a messianic figure. Like most modern advertising it thoroughly mashes up these two ideas (Jesus is a must have Christmas toy) and leaves you to unscramble it. Which ought to give you a few interesting conversations this autumn. It will also make a lot of Christians angry as their cherished images of Christ are challenged. It won’t occur to these detractors that the campaign isn’t aimed at them. And that the best communications are those you learn to live with and talk about.

Being human is to risk losing one’s dignity. Ask Prince Harry.  That’s why in preparing for a religious celebration on which our economy depends to remedy the damp squib that was the predicted Olympic sales boom there is going to be a bun fight this Christmas. Commercial interests will spend vast sums promoting their goods. It really won’t do to simply announce that Christmas is about Christ after all. We need stirring up a bit. Congratulations to the church advertising team for sticking their necks out. If you are one of  those responsible for promoting Christmas services with the option of investing in radio and poster support using the Godbaby initiative. Be brave! Visit the site and make a donation. Download the artwork to use yourself. Yes of course there will be voices raised against it but it will give you something to talk about with those you are inviting to the services.  To keep the conversation going.



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