Monday 21 September 2009

Jesus, all about life

This month, Sydney is being blitzed with Australia's biggest-ever Christian campaign: Jesus. All about life. It's supported by most of Australia's major church groups: Catholic, Anglican, Uniting, Pentecostal, Baptist, etc. The Jesus logo is appearing on billboards and bus shelters around town; there are prime time TV and radio commercials; churches are holding all sorts of special Jesus events; and there's even a Jesus racing car. Apparently the whole campaign is based on market research about what the average Australian wants.

There's also a Thank You Jesus website, where you can submit thank-yous to Jesus for cool middle class stuff – there's an example below. (Incidentally, I don't think they've had very good web advice for this campaign. Through a curious oversight, they forgot to register the .com domains of both their websites: one is now owned by the atheist parody site, Jesus. All About Lies, while the other is owned by Secular Thinking.)

The campaign has been discussed on various blogs, radio programmes, and so forth. In a recent programme, there was some intelligent critique from one of our local theologians, John Hirt: "If we market Jesus to the culture, do we lose his life-alignment to the poor and the broken?" And the same programme included some disturbing insights from the marketing director of the campaign: "People have the right to know about Jesus, and they have the right then to choose to turn him down." Riiiiight.

Speaking of advertising, here's some cool unofficial promotion for HBO from Postal Secrets (a blog where people send in their anonymous secrets on the front of a postcard):


ken oakes said...

so is it common for people "to lurve" in Australia?

kim fabricius said...

Who is "desus"?

Anonymous said...

I love the comment from the marketing director. It's so... 'Ezekiel'.

"If you tell them and they reject it, well, they'll die in their sins, but at least you'll be right, jake."

Steve said...


The church ought be that.

Anonymous said...

nice one. for a moment i thought i was the only person stuck like an outsider-in. i remember hearing reformed missiologist Mike Goheen saying (and I'm sure Hauerwas constantly says this sort of thing) that the Christian addiction/reliance on marketing is a result of lives that are no longer interesting or different from the prevailing culture.

Unknown said...

I'm pretty sure God didn't do any market research into what the average Palestinian wanted before Jesus was born. Otherwise, he would have had a completely different message.

Ian Packer said...

Kim, Desus is the Deistic Jesus we thank for hot chips, sunshine and monkeys (and other things in the ad compaign).

Remy, you reminded me of something we're both reading:
"The pedagogy of the mall does not primarily take hold of the head, so to speak; it aims for the heart, for our guts, our kardia. It is a pedagogy of desire that gets hold of us through the body. So what would it take to resist the alluring formation of our desire—and hence our identity—that is offered by the market and the mall? If the mall and its “parachurch” extensions in television and advertising offer a daily liturgy for the formation of the heart, what might be the church’s counter-measures? What if the church unwittingly adopts the same liturgical practices as the market and the mall? Will it then really be a site of counter-formation? What would the church’s practices have to look like if they’re going to form us as the kind of people who desire something entirely different—who desire the kingdom?"
James K. A. Smith, Desiring the Kingdom

Anonymous said...

"Through a curious oversight, they forgot to register the .com domains of both their websites: one is now owned by the atheist parody site, Jesus. All About Lies, while the other is owned by Secular Thinking."

For your information, was registered 10 years ago. So it wasn't an over site. Some one just had the idea well before they did... FYI...

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