I’m a big believer in leveraging all media by all means to reach all people for the gospel. There’s just one thing that drives me crazy… Cheesy Christian Media.
Let’s be honest: if Christians excel in one area of media, it’s the cheese. We try to clumsily lump theological doctrine into 30 second church ads thinking that the goal is information-transfer.
Effective advertising is more about connecting emotionally and relationally.
If you can touch the heart (or funny bone), you earn permission to invite people into your story.
First, here’s our latest spot:
Three steps we’ve learned in cutting the cheese:
1) KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE! This radio spot is not designed for deeply theological, life-long Christians. In fact, I’ve already taken heat from over-saved Christians on the internet. And I don’t care, because I’m not called to make men happy but instead to obey the Lord.
The message in this radio spot is aimed toward people who wouldn’t normally darken a church door. When you know exactly who you are communicating to, it won’t bother you when the rocks come flying from outsiders.
2) CONSISTENCY BREEDS TRUST! When I lived in north-east Ohio, I was impressed by the media strategy of Knute Larson, a now-retired pastor of The Chapel. Over the course of many years, by consistently lending his own voice and personality to church radio and tv ads, people throughout the region began to trust Knute. Even people who never attended church began to naturally think of Knute as “their pastor.”
If they ever encountered a crisis in their lives, they knew Knute Larson and The Chapel were a safe place to go to for help. That’s my heart for Life Church in the Great Lakes Bay Region. Consistency breeds trust.
Proverbs 22 says, “A good name is more desirable than great riches.” Life Church has a strong reputation and name recognition among unchurched Millennials and Gen Xers in our region of Michigan as a safe, non-judgemental place to ask real questions about faith. That is important to me as our church continues moving forward.
3) EXAGGERATE THE TABOO! We were told by the radio station that we couldn’t say the full title of the movie in our radio ad for legal reasons.
What could have been a hurdle was instead turned into an opportunity.
In my improv-comedy training, I learned about the power of exaggerating the taboo. I talk more about this in my first book, Comedy-Driven Leadership: there are no mistakes, only opportunities.
In this case, we thought it would be hilarious for our 60 second radio ad for a church to have words that are being beeped out. It would actually make the radio spot more interesting, like playing a little game with the audience!
The result is a fresh and fun radio spot that is gaining traction in the Great Lakes Bay Region. More people will feel welcomed at Life Church and the story of God’s love will echo into more hearts this holiday season.