The United Church of Christ in the USA is running a controversial advertising campaign which is being refused airspace by a number of television networks. Two bouncers stand at the front of the church steps. It appears as though they’re keeping out people who don’t fit the white heterosexual stereotype. “No, step aside please. No. I don’t think so. Not you…” And then in contrast we’re given the images of a wide variety of people embracing with the screened words: Jesus didn’t turn people away. Neither do we. The voiceover: The United Church of Christ. No matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here.
Click on the image below to play the video in YouTube (HD)
The opening flash animation on the Still Speaking, site includes the quote: “Never place a period where God has placed a comma”, by American comedienne Gracie Allen.
The tv ads are running from Dec. 1 to 26, Advent to Christmas, on cable and network TV in every U.S. media market. The notable exceptions are CBS and NBC who decided the ‘Bouncer’ ad was too controversial. It’s not clear which was more provocative: the idea that some churches could be brazen enough to turn people away or the thought that some churches might be brazen enough to accept people from different ethnic backgrounds or even different sexual orientations.
The ‘Still Speaking,” campaign is designed to reach out to potential members and strengthen UCC identity, but also to promote increased enthusiasm and commitment among its members.
“This is an opportunity for the UCC to renew its distinctive voice as a people of welcome, justice and passion for the Gospel,” says the General Minister and President. “The Still Speaking Initiative will help us fall in love again with the United Church of Christ, be generous in financial support, and turn our attention toward a world that needs to experience the presence, embrace and encouragement of Jesus.”
The ad appears on the Still Speaking, site in flash form, but is available to download or play in quicktime (8MB), WMV, Real, Mpeg and AVI formats. Go to the resource page on the site for these. You’ll find there also the latest “All the People” ad, two radio ads, print and logo resources.
The Still Speaking campaign is directed by Ron Buford with designer Randy Varcho.
The Rejection Hurts campaign was developed at Gotham Incorporated by creative director Michael Jordan, account director Cort Cunningham.