It seems that every Super Bowl there's a surprising product that buys a huge chunk of ad space despite being relatively unknown to the general public. Last year, that product was cryptocurrency. This year, it's Jesus Christ.
Jesus didn’t want us to act like adults. #HeGetsUshttps://t.co/83st2vLhmy pic.twitter.com/ScC6wmOj7S
— HeGetsUs (@HeGetsUs) February 13, 2023
The group "He Gets Us" bought two ads that seemed to be advertising nothing except Jesus. The first ad showed a bunch of kids doing nice things, like helping each other pee in a urinal, saying, "Jesus didn't want us to act like adults." The second showed pictures of violent protests and riots while encouraging people to be kind to each other.
The ads naturally raised a lot of questions among baffled viewers. Why were they seeing ads for Jesus alongside self-referential beer commercials and the culmination of an exhausting campaign for M&Ms? Who purchased these ads, and for what purpose?
The "He Gets Us" ads have actually been running on various channels and social media platforms for some time (such as Reddit for several months now), but last night they reached their widest audience yet. This prompted some investigative journalism into this advertisement that just spent quite a bit of money on commercials for Christ.
The New York Times reported that the "He Gets Us" campaign is run by the nonprofit Servant Foundation, which "also does business as an organization called the Signatry." Among those donating to the cause is David Green, the founder of Hobby Lobby.
This set off some alarm bells for readers, as Hobby Lobby has found itself in myriad controversies related to some hot-button issues in the past, such as arguing it shouldn't cover women's contraceptive products in its employees' health care plans on the basis of religious freedom. Sure enough, as people dug into the "He Gets Us" ads, they discovered that Sigantry has been lobbying against LGBTQ+ and abortion issues.
Just FYI, the same group that is financing the “He Gets Us” Jesus ads is also helping finance the lawsuit seeking to ban abortion medication nationwide
— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) February 13, 2023
During the Super Bowl tonight, you’ll see two TV ads promoting Jesus from a company called He Gets Us.
Underneath the inclusive-sounding messages is a group funding the right’s efforts to ban abortion & allow businesses to discriminate against the LGBTQ+ https://t.co/bKAqgbQy8E
— Andrew Perez (@andrewperezdc) February 12, 2023
Reminder: The Jesusy "He Gets Us" campaign is a truly toxic far-right effort--anti-LGBTQ, anti-abortion, etc. Ignore the gauzy social justice dressing. https://t.co/tZBOR7jIpf
— Virginia Heffernan (@page88) February 13, 2023
Jacobin reported that "the Servant Foundation donated more than $50 million to the Alliance Defending Freedom — a nonprofit that’s led big policy fights over abortion and nondiscrimination laws at the Supreme Court and in states around the country," adding, "The nonprofit is designated as an anti-LGBTQ+ hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center."
As the business dealings of the Servant Foundation became more generally known, many began feeling that the wholesome, equality-promoting ads the organization ran during the Super Bowl rang hollow.
HATE AT THE SUPER BOWL. The $100 million Super Bowl ads about Jesus come from a group, “He Gets Us;” note well, this group donated $50 million to anti-LGBTQ hate groups & against choice; Hobby Lobby Founder Green said, Jesus ”gets us, … He loves (sic) who we hate.“ pic.twitter.com/ICaHhb87S8
— John P. Flannery (@JonFlan) February 12, 2023
The decline in American Christianity is not because Americans don’t know who Jesus is or his values.
The decline is rooted in the most visible forms of American Christianity not looking anything like Jesus. #HeGetsUs reinforces the hypocrisy and will contribute to decline.
— Guthrie Graves-Fitzsimmons (@GuthrieGF) February 13, 2023
You know what would be better “branding” for Jesus? Using those 100 million dollars on the priorities of Jesus:
Feed the hungry
Welcome the stranger
Care for the sick
Liberate the oppressed
Love our neighbors
Yes, He gets us.
We don’t seem to get him. https://t.co/x4E1y383nb
— Carlos A. Rodríguez (@CarlosHappyNPO) February 11, 2023
The Jesus adverts ran alongside other controversial ads last night, including an ad for the Church of Scientology, ads for Fox News TV host Greg Gutfield, and a bizarre ad for a game called DigiDaigaku that some felt looked more like a phishing scam than a real advertisement.
Feb 13, 2023 at 07:32PM EST
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