It’s back-to-back Super Bowls for Jesus Christ.
A multimillion-dollar campaign called “He Gets Us” will be airing ads for Jesus again this year. People can expect to see a 60-second and a 15-second ad selling a Christian message during the Sunday, Feb. 11 Super Bowl.
“The spots will emphasize loving our neighbors like Jesus did, encouraging people to respect and serve each other,” a He Gets Us campaign spokesperson said in a written statement.
BrandHaven, a Michigan advertising agency, is the creative muscle behind the He Gets Us campaign, which launched two years ago with a series of TV commercials, billboards and digital ads. But two black and white Super Bowl ads last year thrust the campaign into the national spotlight.
A 30-second ad showed photos of children and ended with the message “Jesus didn’t want us to act like adults.” Another one-minute ad featured tense scenes of people confronting each other at restaurants, on the bus and in parking lots, ending with the message: “Jesus loved the people we hate.”
Bill McKendry, founder and chief creative officer of BrandHaven, said there was a “tremendous” response to bringing Jesus into the big game last year.
“It is clear that the American people appreciate messages of love and kindness, and our hope is to connect with more and more people in moments and at events that bring the greatest potential audience to seeing and experiencing Jesus’ love,” McKendry said in a statement.
Last year, these Super Bowl ads cost $20 million.
The campaign did not disclose how much was spent on this year’s Superbowl spots – which will air during the first quarter and second half of the game. But Super Bowl ads are reportedly selling for $7 million for a 30-second spot.
He Gets Us faced criticism last year, including from Democratic U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, for spending millions of dollars on advertising. McKendry previously told MLive he expects it to be an “invest and return strategy” that raises more money than what’s being spent.
LERMA, a Texas agency, created the ads this year while BrandHaven serves as the marketing agency that works on the campaign’s overall strategy and initiatives.
“Our spots this year will kick off a year-long focus on loving your neighbors, which will come to life through service events, art, advertising and engaging content and experiences that bring people together,” McKendry said.
A group of anonymous wealthy donors is behind He Gets Us.
The Servant Foundation, a nonprofit, says in tax filings it launched the campaign “to the tell the story of Jesus and inspire conversations about his life and work. It also operates under The Signatry, a donor-advised fund focused on “Biblical generosity.”
Donor-advised funds don’t have to disclose who their donors are, but David Green – the evangelical Christian founder of Hobby Lobby – is reportedly one contributor to He Gets Us. Green is known for supporting right-wing causes and funding the Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C.
The He Gets Us campaign says it’s supported by a growing group who have a common goal of showcasing “the relatable life and unconditional love of Jesus.” They say the “movement is not funded by or affiliated with any single individual, political position, church or faith denomination.”
McKendry previously said He Gets Us had $300 million budget last year with the goal of it being $1 billion campaign. The He Gets Us campaign said as a nonprofit, it doesn’t share funding specifics, but everyone involved views “this movement as a significant, multiyear initiative.”
The campaign is being managed this year by Come Near, a nonprofit organization led by CEO Ken Callwall, the former chief marketing officer of Compassion International and Domino’s.
The day before the Super Bowl, He Gets Us provided hot lunches and groceries to 1,000 people in an underserved Las Vegas neighborhood. This event brought together He Gets Us, LV Reach, The Salvation Army and NFL athletes.
Read More: Jesus returns to the Super Bowl with help from a Michigan ad agency