(NewsNation) — A new wave of advertisements is seeking to paint Jesus Christ in a new light, one that organizers hope Americans will view as positive.
If you haven’t seen the commercials yet, you probably will. The “He Gets Us” campaign is a $100 million advertising blitz that’s flooding billboards, televisions and computer screens with messages including that Jesus was a rebel, an activist and the host of a dinner party, just like everyday Americans.
The group is planning an ad buy for the Super Bowl, which attracts tens of millions of viewers each year. Jason Vanderground hopes the message connects with at least a few of them.
A spokesman for He Gets Us, Vanderground said Tuesday on “CUOMO” that the goal is to increase the “relevancy” of Jesus.
“We look back at his life and everything he went through, and then we look at what the American people are going through right now, and we find all these parallels,” Vanderground said.
In one of the ads, dubbed “Family Matters,” home videos show a happy family, but as time goes on and arguments ensue, the dinner table at Thanksgiving becomes increasingly empty. At the end of the ad is a message, “Jesus disagreed with loved ones. But didn’t disown them. He gets us.”
It’s how all the ads end, relating today’s societal issues with the trials and tribulations Jesus faced.
“Over the last few years, all of us have gone through this in our families, where we end up on different sides of different issues, so (the question becomes) how do we treat each other afterward when we realize these differences about each other,” Vanderground said. “People are looking to the example of Jesus and saying, ‘Boy, there’s somebody who had differences with people but somehow was able to treat everybody … with love and respect.'”
He Gets Us is a “movement” that seeks to “reintroduce people to the Jesus of the Bible and his confounding love and forgiveness,” the group’s website states. “We believe his words, example and life have relevance in our life today and offer hope for a better future.”
The group is not affiliated with any particular church or denomination. Merchandise is available on the website free of charge, instead asking people to do a good deed as payment.
Research conducted by Vanderground’s marketing firm, Haven, found that while many Americans like Jesus, they are skeptical of his followers, The Washington Post reported.
Two-thirds of survey respondents who identified as “non-Christians,” “spiritually open” or “Jesus followers” all agreed with the statement: “Followers of Jesus say one thing, but do not follow those things in practice.”
Just 5% of the fourth group, “engaged Christians,” agreed with the statement.
In rebranding Jesus, Vanderground said the campaign is taking a new approach to helping people get in tune with their spirituality.
“What was interesting is we talked to the American people; there’s a value system that they appreciate. What they want for themselves and the values that they see in Jesus line up really well,” Vandergroup said. “It’s starting with commonality, starting with respect, starting with finding relevance, and letting people figure out where they want to go on their spiritual journey from there.”