Judge and Jury: Bid to reclaim Christmas must make the most of shopping fatigue - The Churches’ Advertising Network has the right idea with its festive campaign to reclaim Christmas but it will find it difficult to reach its target with so little

Britain’s churches have just launched a festive campaign with the slogan Fix the World this Christmas. It is the first of four promotions under the ’New Start’ theme which will appear in the run-up to the Millennium.

Britain’s churches have just launched a festive campaign with the

slogan Fix the World this Christmas. It is the first of four promotions

under the ’New Start’ theme which will appear in the run-up to the

Millennium.



The aim is to boost active Christianity.



The campaign has already come under fire since the posters make no

mention of God or Jesus Christ. The Times reports that a churchgoer from

Wolverhampton has taken to the Internet to attack the Fix the World

message and the lack of Christian branding.



But that rather misses the point. While clearly not wishing to alienate

regular churchgoers, the campaign’s real focus is on motivating those

who only turn up for christenings, weddings, funerals and a good sing

song on Christmas Eve. It is a soft sell for a reluctant audience, not

preaching to the converted.



The real difficulty will be getting the message seen and heard by the

massive target group amid all the seasonal consumer clutter. The call to

spend at the electronic altars of St Tesco and St Michael will doubtless

be loud and long. This campaign only has a budget of pounds 35,000. So

the Church Advertising Network (CAN) is urging local parishes to get

things moving at the grass roots by ordering pounds 10 marketing packs

which include car stickers, posters and Christmas cards.



CAN is a multi-denominational group of volunteers from advertising and

marketing agencies. It has brought some much-needed fresh thinking to

promoting the Church in recent years. Last year it won acclaim for its

poster campaign in which the word Christmas appeared with the

international copyright symbol and the line ’It’s not a genuine

Christmas without Church’.



This was all good stuff - especially as there seems to be some evidence

that we’re starting to tire of the ’shop ’til you drop/open all

hours/sale starts Boxing Day/must have a turbo-charged yo-yo and a

Furby’ messages.



Reclaiming Christmas and emphasising its religious significance strikes

a chord with many and was probably worth a re-work for 1998. It’s a

simple proposition, easily understood, and a good kick-off for the

Church’s message that the Millennium is more than just the biggest party

of all time.



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