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28 October 2014

Top comic teams up with Christmas campaign

Top comic teams up with Christmas campaign

An award-winning stand-up comic, Paul Kerensa, has teamed up with the Christian communications network ChurchAds to raise awareness of the true meaning of Christmas.

Kerensa, a writer for sitcoms like Miranda and Not Going Out and author ofbooksincluding So A Comedian Walks Into A Church...Confessions of a kneel-down stand-up, features as a number of character voices on three new ads scheduled to hit the airwaves in early December as part of the Christmas Starts with Christ Campaign.

"For me, Christmas normally ends in a mess but this campaigns reminds us it starts with Christ. These excellent ads spoof the daytime tabloid talk shows and hopefully, these commercials will remind listeners that in the birthday party this Christmas, we shouldn't forget the birthday boy," said Kerensa.

The campaign, which is in its sixth year and is backed by all major Christian denominations, has been making in-roads in recent years. A January 2014 ComRes survey revealed that one third of 18-24 year olds remember hearing the radio commercials. It also showed that 67 per cent of people thought that the Christmas message was conveyed effectively and 49 per cent of people felt that the advertising made them think more about the true meaning of Christmas.

The national advertising campaign is funded by long-term supporters Jerusalem Productions and that includes a limited budget to buy airtime on selected national commercial radio networks.

The 30-second adverts, which are in the style of a confrontational chat show, are available totally free of cost for churches to place on their local radio stations to promote the true meaning of Christmas. A number of leading key industry experts donated their time to producing these commercials free of cost.

"We believe these radio ads reach out in a creative and imaginative way to young people, many of whom know little of the Christmas story. We hope this will encourage them to find out more about the birth of Jesus and its continued relevance at Christmas in 2014," said Francis Goodwin of ChurchAds.

All churches are also being encouraged to support this year's campaign by helping to fund their own poster advertising campaigns – which can be tailored for their own church - using the free resources available here

Last year, 4,500 churches joined the campaign – the largest number ever. The campaign also became multi-platform driven, adding a significant increase through its digital and social media presence to the traditional poster and radio advertising. 

It reached five million listeners on the Vodafone Top 20 network chart and Xfm, and 1,000 people using the #ChristmasStarts hashtag reached just over 1.3 million people. There were 22,000 downloads of posters, 9,000 downloads of the radio advertisements and 140,000 page views of the website.