03 September 2012
A very different image of baby Jesus is due to hit the streets this Christmas, with the new Godbaby poster from ChurchAds.net – the Churches Advertising Network.
The striking image of a fictional 'Godbaby toy' aims to make the Christmas story appeal to the younger generation, and puts Christ at the centre of conversations.
"It's another strong and arresting image. It will surprise some and disturb others," said Bishop Nick Baines, giving the image an enthusiastic thumbs-up.
He continues: "Which is exactly what the real Jesus did. And it forces us beyond the tinsel to the human reality of 'God among us'."
The brown-eyed boy doll in a blue baby grow represents the Baby Jesus, and plays on the idea of Christmas being a time when everyone is searching for that 'must-have' Christmas gift. It carries the slogans – 'Godbaby - He cries, He wees, He saves the world'or 'GodBaby - the gift that loves you back' and is the latest advert from the Christmas Starts with Christ campaign.
ChurchAds.net trustee, Mike Elms, a former advertising executive, said: "Research shows that 84 per cent of people believe that 'Christmas should be called Christmas because we are still a Christian society' and yet society still seems set on airbrushing Christ out of His festivity. So, our campaign places a Christ-focused message at the heart of the seasonal consumerism: on shopping centre posters; on commercial radio; in the pages of our daily newspapers.
"This year's poster features the 'Godbaby doll': this year's 'must-have' gift. It's a striking, contemporary and very simple way of communicating the nativity message that Christ, fully divine and fully human, came to us for our salvation."
The Christmas Starts with Christ campaign has been running for four years and research shows that 42 per cent of people seeing it say 'it makes me think more about the true meaning of Christmas'.
Supported by Premier Christian Media, The Jerusalem Trust, and major Christian denominations and organisations, including the Evangelical Alliance, the aim of the campaign is to remind people of the real meaning of Christmas.
Mark Greene, executive director of the London Institute of Contemporary Christianity, said: "This brilliant double-barrelled ad simultaneously undermines two corrosive, contemporary beliefs: Jesus is not just a mythic baby to coo at, he is God. And his birth isn't primarily a marketing trigger for buying toys and gifts, it's a moment to remember how desperately we need God and how extravagantly God loves his world."
To maximise the impact of the message, ChurchAds.net is asking individuals and churches to make a donation to a National Christmas Advertising fund. The aim is to raise enough money to cover the placing of posters at bus stops, buy airtime for specially commissioned radio ads, and buy colour ads in national and regional newspapers. For more information and a free campaign activation pack and resources, visit: www.churchads.net