Why The “He Gets Us” Ads Are Good News For Ambassadors

Last Updated: February 19, 2024By

What if I told you that we could do something to get 600,000 people interested in reading the Bible? What if I told you we could do something to get 300,000 people connected to local churches? You’d be pretty excited about that, right?

Now what if I told you those numbers are as a result of the 2023 “He Gets Us” Super Bowl ad campaign? No topic has stirred up more conversation in the Christian community these past two weeks than those ads. Love them or hate them, lots of people are talking about them.

And, frankly, that’s the point.

Hundreds (If not thousands) of posts and videos have gone up this week in response to the most recent foot washing ad. Some are from non-believers being critical of how much money was spent on the ads and about the causes their funders support. Many Christians  have problems with how Jesus was represented. Even more commenters have opinions on better ways to have done the ad – how they left out x,y, or z.

I’m not going to critique the ads or give my thoughts on how they could have been done. There’s already enough of that. What I want us to do is to step back for a minute and consider that – no matter how much the marketers may have missed the mark – this is a good time to be a Christian Ambassador.

Who Is The Target Audience?

When ads are created, they have a target audience. According to Ed Stetzer, Dean of Talbot School of Theology, the ads are aimed at open skeptics who are willing to consider who Jesus was. Stetzer consulted for the ad campaign and recently gave an interview about them on the Think Biblically podcast.

The criticisms from Christians usually revolve around their thoughts on what was left out of the ads. Or how they misrepresented Jesus. But, the goal of the ads isn’t to give people the entirely of the story. You can’t cover creation, fall, redemption, salvation in 60 seconds. The ads are meant to be a bridge to get from the person of Jesus – to get the skeptic to consider giving Jesus a look – and then get to the bad news/Good News discussions.

In his interview Stetzer shared that when the marketing team did their research, it turns out that the things that attract the curious more in modern times is the person of Jesus – what he taught and how he lived life. Starting with the I Am and calling people to repentance comes later.

And I get it. There’s something kind of icky about “marketing” and Jesus – especially in the way marketing is often used to sell something. But, we have to consider the audience here. They are largely Biblically illiterate. The image they have of the Western church is one full of sexist, racist, insertmarganilizedgrouphere-phobic misogynistic authoritarians.  For many, we have to cut through all of that. And, the way we do that is with the person of Jesus.

Now, the problem comes if that’s where the conversation stops. If the ads only get someone to viewing Jesus as another wise, moral teacher – the model citizen – then the ads have failed. Even if millions of people change their ways and we start to make a “better America”, but those millions only see Jesus as an inspirational figure, then the ads have failed.

But, that’s where we come in. The apologists. The Christian case-makers. The Ambassadors For Christ. Before the ads came out, if we wanted to get the conversation started we would have to ask questions like “what do you think happens when we die” or “who do you think Jesus was”. Now, the creators of these ads have paid $100 million so we could ask the same question to get the conversation about Jesus started that people ask about the latest Pepsi or Doritos ad:

“Hey, Lou. What did you think about that ‘He Gets Us’ Superbowl ad?”

Entering into the conversation about Jesus doesn’t get much easier than that. It’s a simple question. You don’t even have to have a response prepared. At this point, you’re just asking the same question you would ask about any of the other ads. Just ask them and see what they say.

And don’t load up both barrels, getting ready to tell them how the ad got Jesus wrong. Whether I would have done it that way or not isn’t the point initially. The point is to get the conversation started. This is pre-evangelism. These are the conversations that need to happen before The Conversation can happen. And it’s not the ads that we need to worry about getting Jesus right; WE need to get Jesus right. So that we can continue the conversation with those who don’t know Him.

Did the creators of this Superbowl ad campaign fumble the ball? Maybe. But, it ended up in our hands. Now it’s up to us to decide who to hand it off to.



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About the Author: David W. Gilmore

Dave Gilmore is the founder and editor-in-chief of Legati Christi. Over the past few years he has developed a passion for Christian Apologetics and theology, and enjoys talking to others about the Christian world view

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  1. Susanna February 20, 2024 at 10:25 am - Reply

    This was a great examination of the varying opinions and responses to the ad. I liked the conclusion especially. Although I thought the ad was not really a wise move, it has granted us some opportunity to have a conversation.

    • David W. Gilmore February 21, 2024 at 5:24 am - Reply

      Hi Susanna,

      Thanks for your comment. Glad you found the article useful

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