NSW churches prepare for biggest ever marketing push

Australia’s major churches are to unite for what will be Christianity’s largest ever Australian advertising push.  

The “Jesus. All About Life” campaign – created by Sydney ad agency 303 with PR done by Taurus Marketing – begins in three week’s time.

Thousands of churches across 15 Christian denominations in NSW are behind the project which aims to market the message that the teachings of Jesus are still relevant.

The six week campaign will begin with an online component, extending a week later to outdoor banner advertising, print and radio advertisements and culminating on September 27 with the launch of a TVC.

According to the project: “The audience is wide ranging, and hopes to include current and non Christians as well as engaging new audiences in a fresh and accessible way. The key concept of the “Jesus. All about Life” campaign is that by using modern forms of media as a catalyst, every person in every home in NSW will see the campaign in some form. Utilising a modern, fresh approach, the new campaign uses eye catching visuals teamed with witty, humorous and thought provoking comments.”

The campaignwill focus on the paradoxes of modern life. Bible Society CEO Daniel Willis, co-founder of the campaign, said: “Our approach reflects how communications channels have changed from the traditional methods the church may have been using, to using contemporary tools such as viral and social media alongside TV and outdoor advertising.”

303 is beginning to carve out a niche for itself within the spiritual community. Earlier this year it was behind the repositioning of Gloria Jean’s coffee, a brand with a strong connection to Hillsong.


  1. Adam Paull
    17 Aug 09
    1:20 pm

  2. God help us

  3. Joel Pearson
    17 Aug 09
    1:28 pm

  4. I would recommend they take a page out of the Dogma script and just go with the “Buddy Jesus”

  5. Wolfie Rankin
    17 Aug 09
    1:47 pm

  6. I think someone should counter with Athiest ads.

    “The Church – Nothing to see here”.


  7. Bishop Rick
    17 Aug 09
    1:51 pm

  8. Advertising shysters paid for by religious shysters, very fitting, very unsurprising and if paid for by ‘the Church’ it will also be funded by the ATO, since these bludgers are scabbing on the backs of Rudd’s ‘working families’ and pay no tax.

    Very unAustralian.

  9. Anonymous
    17 Aug 09
    1:54 pm

  10. Are we going to try to follow up with an atheist campaign like London?

  11. James Drewe
    17 Aug 09
    2:01 pm

  12. “every person in every home in NSW will see the campaign in some form” – aiming for 100% reach, hey? That’s not a smart statement to put out.

  13. Atheist #42
    17 Aug 09
    2:08 pm

  14. But they wouldn’t let atheists advertise last year? Hypocrisy there from religious sympathisers. Quelle suprise!

    Blasphemy – a victimless crime.

  15. Anonymous
    17 Aug 09
    2:10 pm

  16. @Atheist #42 – see what god did down in victoria earlier this year?

  17. Bishop Rick
    17 Aug 09
    2:13 pm

  18. Not in Tasmania, where the bus companies have already
    decided that Tasmaniacs are in need of protection from harsh truths.

    And it would be a waste of money anywhere else too as Rudd would come out to support God and his new chums in the ACL and Hillsong.

    Better to run a campaign asking why God’s Heavenly Church pays no terrestrial taxes and freeloads its way to corporate profits by pinching hard earned wages from the hip pockets of ‘ordinary Australains’, giving nothing tangible in return.

  19. Trey Ablett
    17 Aug 09
    2:22 pm

  20. does jesus have a twitter account?

  21. max wallace
    17 Aug 09
    2:51 pm

  22. It’s very unlikely this taxpayer funded campaign will have any effect as Christianity has declined at every recent census despite the rise of evangelicals, and despite the widespread use of Christian radio. (The story of why churches are tax-exempt is detailed in my book The Purple Economy: Supernatural Charities, Tax and the State, 2007).The background culture is too cluttered and noisy for any one campaign to have a lasting effect. Moreover, Christianity would have declined further if we had a fairer census question concerning belief in Australia. A fairer census question in NZ has Christianity down to 51 per cent whereas in Australia they are down to 64 percent. (See ‘Jesus romps home on the donkey vote’, SMH June 2008).

  23. AJ
    17 Aug 09
    2:58 pm

  24. hehe love these comments … nothing more entertaining than watching professional misleaders (i.e. marketeers) attempt to claim the moral highground against people they claim to be professional misleaders (ie. churches).
    Though I’m not a church-goer, I’m at least reasonable enought to admit that a large slice of the welfare and humanitarian pie is delivered via churches. So who cares if they want to promote themselves? Would it be any different to a campaign by the scouts assoc? Both institutions have some (I’d hope few) dangerous individuals in their midst, though assuming some PC anti-church position is boringly predictable from people who no doubt have never been in one.
    Having said all that, my guess is that the campaign will not drive new people into church (if that is their aim). Perhaps a better idea would be to communicate Christian ideals of love and acceptance through the traditional non-marketing channels (Salvo’s humanitarian work comes to mind). Spending $1M on helping the needy would go much further to convince skeptics like me to consider religion than any well-placed billboard or TV spot.

  25. random
    17 Aug 09
    3:24 pm

  26. What a waste of money. All this coin promoting a make believe friend for grown ups.

    This is embarrassing.

  27. Bishop Rick
    17 Aug 09
    3:35 pm

  28. The underlying work of all Church organisations is not ‘to help the needy, but to evangelise to recruit to undermine the secular world we live in and turn it into a faith-driven quagmire of bigotry and mumbo-jumbo.

    If the ‘needy’ need help due to the failings in the system, we would all be better off to change the system that created so much ‘and some fell by the wayside’ form of damage.

  29. Rachael Lonergan
    17 Aug 09
    3:48 pm

  30. What metrics will be used to determine success of the campaign?

    Qual Tracking?

    “Since viewing the campaign I now feel that Jesus is

    1) Highly relevant
    2) A little bit more relevant
    3) Relevant
    4) Not very relevant
    5) Not relevant”

    or…clicks through the turnstiles / coins on plates on Sundays?

  31. Anonymous
    17 Aug 09
    3:48 pm

  32. Everytime I drive past a church that has invested in a sign out the front that’s not your non-traditional church sign, I practically vomit blood.

    The fact that they’ve written a line and had to inject an idea in to a sign they’ve got constructed at the front of a gothically-grotesque stone building that stands out like dogs balls anyways, is a sign of how cheap the church really is, even in their own eyes. You are ok with capitalising the word of the lord? You are advertising spirituality? Makes me sick, wierdos.

  33. Rachael Lonergan
    17 Aug 09
    3:51 pm

  34. Tim, I get the odd feeling this one’s going to be even better than the YP forum….

  35. Smitty
    17 Aug 09
    4:06 pm

  36. Channel 10 has picked up the rights to MasterPriest

  37. Rachael Lonergan
    17 Aug 09
    4:08 pm

  38. “So You Think You Can Baptise?”

  39. Smitty
    17 Aug 09
    4:19 pm

  40. Australian False Idol

  41. Jack
    17 Aug 09
    4:39 pm

  42. Australia’s BIGGEST Sinner

  43. Anonymous
    17 Aug 09
    4:47 pm

  44. I find this debate very interesting.

    A faith based organisation is promoting people to be a part of it. This faith based organisation promotes the teachings of Jesus which include loving your neighbour as yourself, love God and people, look after the poor, etc. In light of this I can’t really see what is wrong with more people being encouraged to be a part of a faith that’s values primarily revolve around helping society (even if you don’t agree with the faith component).

    Do these same marketers who are slamming the church care if the company they have an account with is in part responsible for putting children in sweat shops overseas or obesity epidemics (I don’t need to name names here)?

    So in other words you are saying that it is wrong for a faith based organisation with strong values on helping the community to promote itself. Yet on the other hand it is ok to be in-different to companies that destroy forests and cause human rights abuses in the name of a better bottom line for shareholders?

    Why is it that there are people who are slamming the church for “ethical” reasons in this forum yet they are very silent in posts about other large companies who are destroying the environment, etc (in fact they may even have them as a client and not care)?

    I say good on the church for helping make society a better place.

  45. Smitty
    17 Aug 09
    4:53 pm

  46. Two and a half Nuns

  47. Joel Pearson
    17 Aug 09
    5:17 pm

  48. Soph
    17 Aug 09
    5:18 pm

  49. I find this comment thread interesting too, especially as a Christian working on the edges of the industry.

    Maybe to clear one thing up though? The campaign isn’t being funded by taxpayer money, but supported by donations from christians themselves (and not in a coersive ‘give money to get to heaven, way’, or at least I’d hope not!). Most of the people who have given money to this campaign are also regular contributors to local and overseas charities. Churches have been known to be quite generous in this regard – maybe the problem is they don’t make it widely known.

    In terms of running a campaign about Jesus…I find it strange that people think “advertising” and “religion” shouldn’t go together. We don’t have a problem when charities do it, or climate change advocates, or the government. Why should the church be different, especially when we extol the virutes of advertising as a vital form of communication?

    Obviously not everyone’s going to like it. I’m not going to defend the creative merits of the ads (which look a bit cheesy, if I’m honest) or even effectiveness of the campaign itself.

    But I can’t help but feel the reason people get offended when Christians advertise is because we expect the church to just be quiet about all the Jesus stuff and get on with doing good works for our society. Fair enough – freedom of speech means we aren’t always going to like what’s out there. But going from what has dominated discussion on this site of late (Kyle and Jackie O), I reckon there are worse things we could spend energy talking about…

  50. Adam Paull
    17 Aug 09
    5:29 pm

  51. Can’t wait to see a bus ad with the slogan: “The Catholic Church – Now With Less Paedophiles!”

  52. paul
    17 Aug 09
    5:56 pm

  53. Packed to the Altars

  54. paul
    17 Aug 09
    5:59 pm

  55. What is wrong with NSW churches advertising. The same people who champion ‘freedom of speech’ don’t have that line of thinking when it comes to God and religion. Just because you don’t believe in a God / religion doesn’t mean you have to ridicule people who do. It’s very hypocritical

    I think it’s great that you can advertise these things, although I still don’t understand why the atheists can’t advertise. Even though i’m a Christian, I still believe that everyone has a right to a freedom of speech – atheist, buddhist, hindu, muslim, manly supporter etc

  56. Jack
    17 Aug 09
    6:06 pm

  57. @Adam#26: “And Jesus said, let the little children come unto me, however there will be supervision from a third party at all times, with a live webcam feed so parents can watch to ensure there is no hanky-panky”.

  58. Barnaby Rudge
    17 Aug 09
    7:03 pm

  59. And on the 40th anniversary of Woodstock—-blasphemy!!
    The main thing is that those of us who know it is a circus, boo!
    There is a resurgence of this nonsense underway I beleive.
    They’ll be burning secularists at the stake soon!

  60. inspiredworlds
    17 Aug 09
    10:33 pm

  61. i think its a great idea for the churches, being a Christian myself

    they have been talking about it in my church for the last couple of weeks. this campaign was run last year as well. it requires a lot of local ground support too from the churches.

  62. Sympneology
    18 Aug 09
    1:29 am

  63. For the churches to be spending this much money they must be getting really desperate.

  64. AdGrunt
    18 Aug 09
    2:15 am

  65. I’ve heard that the ads are only visible to sinners. So I’m safe…

    So You Think You Can Chant?

  66. Anon
    18 Aug 09
    8:13 am

  67. Looking forward to seeing what it has to say…who knows…it may even improve my life …or someone else’s…don’t know why the negativity…

  68. AdGrunt
    18 Aug 09
    8:44 am

  69. Anon,
    The negativity is because as advertising practitioners we know that any claims are instantly suspicious.

    “Jesus loves you” for instance is pretty hard (arguably impossible) to substantiate. As are pretty much all religious claims.

    This is reinforced by the mysterious canning of the atheist ad campaign by APN Outdoor, whilst running frequent religious ads.

  70. Liz
    18 Aug 09
    8:56 am

  71. I am a Christian, but I have an issue with the whole ‘selling Jesus’ approach. In fact, I have just written a post about it on my blog. Jesus is not just another product that needs a good logo and a catchy jingle. And people in today’s western world are so saturated with advertising messages that they can be quite sceptical of anything that sounds like ‘sales talk’.

    Plus, Jesus himself did not do a good job of ‘selling’ Christianity. If his message was an advertising campaign, it would be a very bad one. I can’t imagine anyone plastering ‘Follow Jesus and suffer’ onto billboards.

    And yet somehow the early church managed not just to attract people, but to grow into the worldwide religion we have today. All this without a marketing guru in sight.

  72. Hocuspocus & mumbo-jumbo
    18 Aug 09
    9:02 am

  73. Really, those of you who are wondering why it is OK for the Church to advertise in the same way as some gormless corporate ‘citizen’ trying to flog their barely needed consumer articles to equally dunce ‘consumers’ who need to be constantly reminded that they will never be happy and fulfilled unless they work all hours under the sun to pay for an ever expanding array of junk is to fail to see the nature of the advertsiing industry, and the supposed ‘special nature’ of God and His Church.

    God is not a consumer item.

    The Church is not a corporate identity.

    People of ‘faith’ are not consumers…. so we are led to believe anyway.

    To stoop to the same grubby standard as corporate citizens who must advretise their junk to remain ‘wanted’ and ‘relevant’, think of the fashion industry for instance, is to acknowledge up-fron that the entire Godly edifice is a complete and utter sham.

    Bring it on, as far as I am concerned, but please, please, do not start to support cheap, shoddy, deceitful advertising as being ‘the way’ for something that purports to be ‘special’, God.

    Mind you, if Hillsong and its ilk is to be the new face of God, then advertising will be fine.

  74. Adam Paull
    18 Aug 09
    9:04 am

  75. Since when has advertising ever improved anybody’s life?


  76. AdGrunt
    18 Aug 09
    9:45 am

  77. Liz,

    The church has developed and pioneered (some might ironically say evolved!) some of the sharpest and most breath-taking marketing tactics, over a couple of thousand years:

    Brand advocates – aka Disciples and Ministry
    Experiential marketing – Pilgrimages and crusades
    Brand guidelines – the Bible
    Loyalty schemes – Concept of heaven, hell, etc.
    Quick-fix solutions – Confessionals, papal pardons

    In fact, I think there’s a rich vein of analogy here!

  78. Beaudacious
    18 Aug 09
    1:48 pm

  79. AdGrunt

    Wow, loved the response to Liz. Couldn’t have said it better if I tried!

  80. Murray
    18 Aug 09
    2:15 pm

  81. Friends, let’s take notice of an important distinction here. Those of us in the churches involved are not trying to sell anything with this campaign. We have no product to offload. You will not find us asking for any money. There will be no exchange of goods or services. We are not marketing. We are simply promoting, informing and inviting. Anyone who is interested can take up the opportunity to investigate the claims of Jesus. He remains, by any calculation, the most influential man in history. Many of us have found in him the key to life. if you are not interested, please feel free to ignore the invitation.

  82. AdGrunt
    18 Aug 09
    4:44 pm

  83. Hey Murray,

    You aren’t a marketing person, are you?

    Promoting your religion as a choice amongst others. That’s marketing.

    Putting Jesus Racing on V8 cars. That’s marketing.

    You may not be selling a box of soap-powder, but you are presumably going to make some emotional proposition to consumers? That’s marketing.

    Jesus’ influence is open to conjecture. I’m pleased that your faith clearly brings you strength and succour. Clearly to a Christian, JC is going to be number 1.

    However, this is a marketing website, where we talk about marketing thingies. The concept of your campaign is creating lively debate – a good thing.

    You’ll see Scientology’s questionable “marketing” practices discussed elsewhere. We’ll rip into anyone – religion or not. It’s marketing excellence, or our varying opinion, that drives this site.

    Surprised this link hasn’t been provided, which should guide you Murray on how a religious marketing campaign works and provide food for the rest of us to judge the technical and social merits of the campaign – http://www.youtube.com/user/JAALCampaign09

  84. Sympneology
    18 Aug 09
    6:17 pm

  85. All this fuss over someone who died in Rome in AD70 at the age of 77.
    And the claims!
    “Jesus loves you” = “you are a necrophiliac”
    “Eat my body and drink my blood” = cannibalism or necrophagia?
    “Jesus died on the cross v. he rose from the dead and walked and talked to his disciples” = the basic lie of Christianity. If he did one then he did not do the other.
    “Jesus mother was a virgin” = another great lie, a biological impossibility.

    No wonder they have to rely on an advertising campaign!

  86. Anon
    19 Aug 09
    9:58 am

  87. Sympneology,
    For a start Jesus dies when he was 33 not 77
    Secondly necrophilia would imply something sexual and there is other kinds of love,
    Thirdly only the catholic church believes you are actually eating and drinking the body of Christ the rest of us just see it as a memorial of Jesus death, a symbol if you will so therefore no cannibalism.
    And I am pretty sure you would believe in evolution which many or us would also call a great lie and not possible ( nothing plus nothing cant equal something).
    There is a reason it is called faith.
    I have read all these comments and this is the only one i felt the need to respond to, because if people disagree that’s fine and their choice but please get you facts straight.

  88. Hocuspocus & mumbo-jumbo
    19 Aug 09
    10:43 am

  89. “There is a reason it is called faith.”… indeed there is.

    The word ‘faith’ is applied when there is no evidence and continued belief relies on suspending all doubts, questions, fears, and adopting, holus-bolus, what is on offer, with no ‘buyer beware’ attached.

    ‘Faith’ is what allows the evil to keep going unquestioned, fools to parade as experts, goods to be sold even when they are of doubtful utility to humans and our continued existence to be threatened.

    ‘Faith’ is what drives the Israel question, Northern Ireland, the outrages of the Vatican, the non-questioning of our political and economic systems.

    ‘Faith’ is what people like Howard, Bush, Blair and Rudd hide behind, not to mention their counterparts in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, India or the Generals in Burma.

    ‘Faith’ is what we could do with less of.

  90. Sympneology
    19 Aug 09
    1:29 pm

  91. Anon,
    So you are going with the theory that Jesus died on the cross. Then to say he walked around and talked with his disciples afterwards is another lie.

    Faith = gullibility. To say you must have faith is to say you must believe lies.

    Religion is the original marketing scam.

  92. AdGrunt
    19 Aug 09
    1:55 pm

  93. Symp,

    Faith is based on complete trust. This does not impute acceptance of lies, so your assertion seems unkind.

    I’ve always reconciled the Resurrection story as a Weekend at Bernie’s style jape. But that’s my opinion.

    Our individual perception of information is what drives our trust of a person, religion, or, to bring this back on topic, a brand.

    Religions are, “ad absurdum”, merely brands of religious faith, requiring varying elements of doctrine acceptance. To describe all religion as a scam suggests you place no value on their contribution within society. The weakness of that contribution is that it often requires acceptance of ancient, divisive doctrine as opposed to progressive and developing knowledge. This is where I have problems with religion.

  94. Adam
    19 Aug 09
    4:55 pm

  95. Ad agency world criticising the church for advertising their message. The same ad agency world who take cash from tobacco, alcohol, fast food companies etc…

    Perhaps an alcohol company could run with a campaign to leverage off the “100% reach” of the church campaign, along the lines of:

    “Be baptised with the holy spirit”

    – Why waste good whisky…

  96. John
    19 Aug 09
    5:02 pm

  97. Sounds like a great idea! You have a choice and all I can say to the cynics is; JESUS loves you and he’s coming back!

  98. Adam
    19 Aug 09
    5:13 pm

  99. Jesus saves

    – But I would put Mark Schwarzer in the nets over Jesus myself…

  100. AdGrunt
    19 Aug 09
    5:17 pm

  101. Adam,

    We (or at least myself) aren’t criticising the church for advertising their message. That’s their call. It’ll be interesting to see if it comes off as credible or not – the scale of success is unclear.

    It’s of grave concern that alternative (atheist) campaigns have previously been mysteriously censored, notably by APN Outdoor, whilst they are happy to accept the Christian dollar.

    Can you imagine the apoplectic frenzy that would ensue if the Islamic Foundation ran a similar campaign?

    No idea what you’re on about with booze / religion – your analogy misses me.

  102. Dan
    19 Aug 09
    10:49 pm

  103. Come to church:
    Live music;
    Free booze.

  104. AdGrunt
    19 Aug 09
    11:12 pm

  105. Sympneology
    21 Aug 09
    7:02 pm

  106. AdGrunt
    “Faith is based on complete trust. This does not impute acceptance of lies, so your assertion seems unkind.

    I’ve always reconciled the Resurrection story as a Weekend at Bernie’s style jape. But that’s my opinion.”

    When the Holy Inquisition burnt to death the Cathars, who did not believe the resurrection lie, their execution was called ‘auto da fe’ = an act of faith.

  107. AdGrunt
    22 Aug 09
    1:25 pm

  108. Symp,
    You’re bonkers.

  109. Adam
    23 Aug 09
    11:37 am

  110. Adgrunt, it was quite simply a joke. You didn’t get it? Wow, straight over your head. Mr Grunt, I would applaud an atheist campaign and I feel concerned if certain publishers / board owners do only bat for the religious stuff and not the other; goes against the grain of society somewhat.

    “Shine Jesus shine…” Perhaps Ever Ready could start selling / marketing a ‘Jesus Torch’ – might sell quite well?

  111. Adam Paull
    23 Aug 09
    1:09 pm

  112. Not a good idea Adam – the last thing the Catholic Church wants is a light shone on anything…

  113. Adam
    23 Aug 09
    4:05 pm

  114. True AP… Hey ho, religion always causes a stir. When is the next Census? Is there enough of us to create a ‘Mumbrella’ religion?

  115. Adam Paull
    23 Aug 09
    4:10 pm

  116. Nah – I’ve been a Jedi all my life and I’m not about to change over to one of those Johnny-come-lately, “fad” religions now…

  117. mumbrella
    23 Aug 09
    4:32 pm

  118. Hi Adam (4.05),

    That sounds like an excellent idea. And I’m not greedy. I’m quite happy to just go for 12 followers, or disciples, if you will…


    Tim – Mumbrella

  119. Adam
    23 Aug 09
    5:17 pm

  120. Hey Tim (4.32) – I have just got back from Church…

    The Pastor was rambling on about sharing. Well, Mumbrella certainly fits in there! The Pastor then mentioned how important it is to care for each other; whilst I will always be up for an argument on these threads, I certainly don’t hate anyone on this forum… We then broke into song; something about ploughing the fields and scattering the good seed and all that… Perhaps we need to get some audio into your platform? If a topic gets too heated we can all down keyboards, turn on our mic’s and join in for a good bellow about the lord Google and loving the mother of brella’s?

    OK, I am going to get my coat.

  121. Adam
    23 Aug 09
    5:21 pm

  122. AP: Good point, I too am an assigned Jedi come to think of it… I might have to jump ship though. I wasn’t impressed with the recent Cockney wing of this mighty Jedi religion: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kDKiQfBs9lo

  123. Anonymous
    11 Sep 09
    9:42 am

  124. Now I can’t wait to see that!


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