Christian campaign crashes the Super Bowl


Hailey Steidle, Staff writer

An astounding 113.06 million people tuned in this past Sunday for the Super Bowl LVII and the long-awaited commercials that come with it. It is logical that with these numbers companies would fight over the commercial spots as a way for them to advertise. There are the classic commercials that people see every year such as the Budweiser ads and then there are the new ones that seem to appear every year. However, this year one of these new commercials took center stage as an ominous message came across the world’s screens.

The ads were part of the “He Gets Us” campaign that has been aiming to promote both Jesus and Christianity since they began launching ads nationally in 2022 as a part of a $100 million campaign. These campaigns have shown a portrayal of Christianity in many forms; a few of these ads were showing a portrayal of an immigrant, a refugee, a radical and an activist for women’s rights. The campaign ran two separate ads during their minute and a half of total commercial space. The first one aired after the first quarter ended and lasted for a total of 30 seconds.

It showed images and videos of children embracing and playing with each other and closed out with a message of “Jesus didn’t want us to act like adults.” The estimated cost of this one ad alone was roughly $7 million. The second ad aired during the fourth quarter and lasted for 60 seconds.

It showed another series of photographs, this time of people arguing and confronting one another. At the end of the ad a message appeared on the screen that stated “Jesus Loved the People We Hate.” The estimated final cost for the two commercials came out to be $20 million, which means that this second ad came in at a whopping $13 million. The ads began to gain criticism shortly after the Super Bowl aired from both Christians and non-Christians as individuals questioned the reasoning and effectiveness of these ads. Christians have openly criticized the campaign for being vague in their messaging and de-emphasizing biblical teachings and the holiness of Jesus.

Many other individuals are criticizing the campaign regarding the cost of the ads, the question of where else could this $20 million could have gone is rapidly circulating for many people. Jason Vanderground, the
spokesperson for the “He Gets Us” campaign spoke out about where the campaign is getting their funding.  He shared that the “funding for the campaign comes from a diverse group of individuals and entities with a common goal of sharing Jesus’ story authentically.”

While most of the donors choose to remain anonymous, a few individuals and companies have openly shared their support such as David Green, the co-owner of Hobby Lobby, who has shared that he is a major contributor. Many of the other donors have ties to conservative political aims that seem to appear in a different perspective with the campaign’s inclusive messaging.

This campaign, despite some of the criticisms that Christians and Jews have been giving it, has been painting Jesus in a more socially aware light. Many times, people are prejudiced against Christianity due to misconstrued ideas about the faith. However, this campaign is painting Jesus to be someone who stands by the oppressed and who does not exclude anyone for any reason. The campaign is bold because it is going against what a lot of people know about Jesus, who even if not believed in by some people, is a notable historical figure who has had an enormous impact on religion as we know it.

By showing his relevance to many social justice issues in a positive way, the ‘He Gets Us’ campaign is showing that their religion is still needed today to support those social justice movements rather than opposing them as many people see Christians doing.

Even if viewers do not believe in Christianity, it was an effective marketing strategy that got the campaign’s name out in a way that stood out against other commercials. Consider looking up this campaign to see what all the hype is