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Nine Moons » Blog Archive : An Entirely Different Campaign » An Entirely Different Campaign

An Entirely Different Campaign

D Christian Harrison - November 6, 2007

Today is Election Day in the US… but instead of calling you to action, or reminding you of the prophetic guidelines found in D&C 134, I’d like to discuss a campaign of an entirely different stripe: an advertising campaign — for the Church.

The campaign, entitled Truth Restored, is described thusly in a press release:

[The church,] known in the past 30 years for its cutting-edge public service ads on the family has now redefined ways to share its message in a major multimedia campaign.

In ads being run in three test areas throughout the United States, recent converts to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints share their experiences unscripted and in their own words.

The campaign is decidedly different from the (effective) schmaltz of earlier campaigns. Its tenor and approach is documentary, and the players come from diverse racial and socio-economic backgrounds (also in stark contrast to other campaigns).

Truth Restored Campaign Billboard

In this billboard (one of several) , the typography is definitely “mormon”, but the lighting and framing of the family is light and airy — very modern. And note the use of mormon.org.

The campaign also features a number of video spots that are optimized for both television viewing and web site embeds, à la YouTube (I, II).

This is an exciting new direction for the Church, and it’s great to see them capitalizing on the their experience with the web. But what are your thoughts? On their design, the concept, the campaign in general… Would you consider embedding one of these videos in your personal web site?

15 Comments »

  1. Silus, I was thinking about blogging about this campaign because my friend and former teacher Adrian (I blogged about his influence on the “new” church logo here) has been a big part of it. One of the other people on the team is a former partner of his, Perry Merkley, and both were a big part of the successful and award-winning American Express “Portraits” campaign of the 80′s. If you look at those ads (and an updated iteration of that campaign within the last few years called “make life rewarding”) you can see the similarity in thinking of those campaigns and this one by the Church through the visuals and copy.

    This campaign has been in the works for three years now and is finally starting to see a little bit of light (pun intended). It has been a serious struggle for his team to get this through all the commitees and hierarchy. Aparently it’s been quite successful in the testing areas, but there’s still a lot of testing to be done to come to any conclusions.

    Comment by Rusty — November 6, 2007 @ 9:50 am

  2. I watched the video links –and I literally had goosebumps. Personal testimony is powerful; the Spirit cannot help but be present.

    I’m loving this new campaign! I would definitely put it on my personal website. My non-member family and friends know what I believe; and even if they didn’t, I’m already “advertising” what I believe. These videos would just be icing…

    As a side note, I have to say that I think the Church does a great job of keeping up with the amazing technology that is available to us. I can’t even imagine what it was like to live in a time where everything was communicated through the written word, temple sessions were live (although experiencing that is actually pretty cool), and general conference was either personally attended or read about later. We are so blessed!

    Comment by Cheryl — November 6, 2007 @ 9:50 am

  3. An idea such as this presents some real challenges in producing the ad spots. Even statements that are truly unscripted can “feel” scripted and insincere, if they aren’t handled well by those creating the spots. Of the two you’ve linked, I was very impressed with the first, not so much with the second. The woman in the first video came across as articulate, thoughtful, and truly moved by the principle she spoke of. The gentleman in the second was surely sincere, but came across as very emotional, even to the point that you got the idea he would talk the same way about babies and warm puppies. Of course, different audiences will respond to these spots differently. For some, the gentleman’s emotion may be the key, while the woman may seem more cold and analytical.

    Personally, I find many more compelling beliefs in Mormonism than “families can be together forever,” yet it seems that LDS leaders think that is the message that “sells.” I’ve heard that other ad spots in this campaign deal with a 9-11 widow, and other “family” based themes. I hope the ads highlight other compelling aspects of Mormonism, as well.

    Comment by Nick Literski — November 6, 2007 @ 9:51 am

  4. I think they’re strong pieces, but I am a little perplexed by the imagery of the billboards — a few of which are not at all “light and airy”. You’d think the art director would have pushed for more cohesion.

    Comment by Silus Grok — November 6, 2007 @ 10:00 am

  5. Funny, Nick… I liked the gentleman’s spot (a little) more than the woman’s.

    So you’re right: different strokes.

    Comment by Silus Grok — November 6, 2007 @ 10:02 am

  6. Of course, that’s the point, isn’t it? Surely they want to reach people of different temperments. I’m the guy who gets cynical when people sob uncontrollably the moment they reach the podium in F/T meeting, so the woman’s manner spoke more to me.

    Comment by Nick Literski — November 6, 2007 @ 10:46 am

  7. I find the ads compelling and interesting but what about measurable follow-up? Many of the latest commercials offered free videos or a free BofM. You could measure the results with the number of freebies delivered by the missionaries and you could count the number of converts from that. These are feel good commercials, image commercials, maybe they’ll produce results maybe they won’t how will we tell?

    I’m surprised the “brethern” agreed to these considering the result oriented church we belong to.

    Comment by Don — November 6, 2007 @ 10:48 am

  8. They can track increased traffic at mormon.com, Don, as well as what results those hits generate in terms of missionary requests, etc.

    Comment by Nick Literski — November 6, 2007 @ 11:46 am

  9. They can also track calls based on phone number used for requesting a BOM etc.

    The man in charge of advertising for the chruch did a fireside for the high priests last year and said some of the suggested ads were things like “Trusth Restored: God has a Body” etc. I wonder if those type of ads are still in the works. The main purpose of the campaign is to talk about those things that are unique to mormonism.

    Comment by Matt W. — November 6, 2007 @ 2:08 pm

  10. How do you embed the video on your blog…I’m not very computer savy, :)

    Comment by berrykat — November 6, 2007 @ 3:40 pm

  11. Nick,

    I think you’re right about how much we use “Families Can Be Together Forever.” That may have been revolutionary decades or even a century ago but most Christians I’ve come to know pretty much believe they’ll be with their families forever, despite “till death do you part.” You could do a whole other thread on some of our antiquarian perceptions of what doctrines are most cherished an/or hated by mainstream Christians.

    Comment by Bret — November 6, 2007 @ 4:03 pm

  12. Bret,

    You’re right most of my christian friends don’t find the idea of being a family after death a new or unique to us. The just assume they’ll be in the same kind of relationships there as here. Most haven’t even thought thru the until death do us part deal.

    Comment by Don — November 6, 2007 @ 6:03 pm

  13. But maybe that’s the point. Most people believe they will be together forever –but they can’t without the Gospel. Perhaps that’s why the church pushes it so much –so people will say “Of course I’ll be with my family…wait…won’t I?” That raises the questions; the Church then holds the answers.

    Comment by Cheryl — November 7, 2007 @ 8:39 am

  14. Cheryl,

    Touche.

    Comment by Bret — November 7, 2007 @ 7:31 pm

  15. Unscripted??? I’ll believe it when I see it.

    Comment by John Cline — November 8, 2007 @ 4:37 pm

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