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11 December 2012

Bishop unveils UK’s largest Christmas ad

Bishop unveils UK’s largest Christmas ad

The UK's largest Christmas advert has been unveiled in Manchester by the Bishop of Bolton.

The advert, which is taller than the Great Wall of China (40 feet high) and the length of three buses (106 feet long), is part of the Church-backed Christmas Starts with Christ campaign which runs until Christmas.

The advert shows three contemporary images of the nativity. The first image is an atmospheric oil painting of the nativity set at a bus stop painted by internationally acclaimed artist Andrew Gadd.

The second image shows an ultrasound scan of the baby Jesus - while still in the womb - complete with halo and the tag line: "He is coming."

The final image shows Jesus as a 40ft-high plastic doll called Godbaby – with the tagline: "He cries. He wees. He saves the world."

Members the public are being asked to say which of the three images they like best by voting at www.christmasnearyou.com

Millions of people are expected to see the ad which will be fixed to scaffolding on the side of St Ann's church. The church forms part of St Ann's Square at the heart of Manchester's shopping and commercial centre. 

The Rt Revd Chris Edmondson, Bishop of Bolton, said: "It is important that the true message of Christmas is not forgotten. The Christmas story is presented in three very different ways by these images. But the truth they present is eternal - that at Christmas we celebrate Jesus who, as the Son of God, came in human form. He was born in a place of poverty but changed the world through his life, death and resurrection."

The Rector of St Ann's, Revd Nigel Ashworth, said: "We were delighted to provide the space free of charge to the campaign. St Ann's tower marks the geographical centre of Manchester. So literally and in a unique way we have managed to put the Christmas message at the heart of this great city."

Francis Goodwin, from Churchads.net, said: "We asked some of the top advertising people in the business to help us break through all the commercialism to challenge people, inspire them and communicate the true message of Christmas to millions.  Each of these striking images will speak to different people in different ways. Each one is engaging in its own right but we would love people to vote for the one that speaks to them most at www.christmasnearyou.com ."

The UK's biggest ad has been sponsored by the Diocese of Manchester in partnership with the Church of England communications unit, churchads.net, St Ann's Church Manchester and Churches Together in Greater Manchester.