Fueled by granola (fishnet_hamster) wrote in ontd_political,
Fueled by granola

Good Question: Why Are The Mormons Advertising?


The commercials are hard to miss, airing in one-minute chunks on Twin Cities television stations.

"I'm a surfer, a woman and a woman's longboard champion," one states. "And I'm a Mormon."

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is running a nine-city advertising blitz, which provoked several WCCO viewers to e-mail asking: Why are the Mormons advertising their religion?

"I do think it's weird," said Marilyn, from Burnsville. "Are they trying to convert us to Mormonism?"

Ron Wilson, marketing director for Mormon.org in Salt Lake City, Utah, said it's nothing new.

"The church has been running TV ads since the early '70s," he said. "This is not unusual for us."

The ads, which ran in the 1970s, focused on parenting themes, showing a family moment and then ending with a voice-over: "A message from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints."

"They did an interesting thing for the church," Wilson said. "They helped people understand we believe strongly in families. They made that connection for us."

These ads are more like a branding or image campaign for the church, featuring a skateboarder who is a father and a Mormon.

Another TV ad begins, "I am an artist and the mother of three beautiful girls."

"I think our effort is really to try to help people understand that Mormons are not as different as you would think," Wilson said.

According to the National Council on Churches, the Mormon Church is now the fourth largest in America with nearly 6 million members.

It's one of the few churches that's growing membership; last year they were up nearly 2 percent.

Wilson wouldn't say how much the church is spending on the ad campaign, only that they've been planning this launch for "two and a half years."

This one is launching in nine cities: Baton Rouge, Colorado Springs, Jacksonville, Pittsburgh, Rochester, Oklahoma City, St. Louis, Tucson and Minneapolis.

Wilson said the TV and radio spots will be complimented in the coming weeks by billboard and bus advertising. The campaign is slated to run through the end of 2010.

"It made sense to us that there were enough misconceptions out there that the church step up and allow its members to say who we really are," Wilson said.

But a WCCO viewer, Anibal Laboy, from Woodbury, wondered, "Aren't you suspicious that it is an early public relations campaign to smooth out Mitt Romney's presidential candidacy in the republican's primary?"

"Nothing at all to do with politics, politicians, anything like that," Wilson said. "I can definitively say this is not connected to Mitt at all."

I live in the Greater Rochester area, and the first time I saw one of these ads, I was TOTALLY confused. They weren't advertising a relevant book or event, such as the Hill Cumorah show in nearby Palmyra, it's just "Hi, I'm a Mormon on a skateboard! WHOOOOA!".

I'd like to know what other people in the nine target areas think of these ads, and what you think of being one of those target locations. And if there's any Mormons in this comm, I'd love to know your thoughts too!
Tags: advertising, mormons, religion

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