LAST CALL: Some heaven-sent publicity for the Jesus Video Project

Lee Miller may not officially be the PR guy for Jesus (that was the

Apostles' job), but he certainly has his media relations Acts

together.



Miller's Media Service Group, based in Lufkin, TX, landed the Jesus

Video Project of Texas account. His client's goal is to mail a movie

about JC to all 8.4 million households in Texas by October.



The film, featuring a blue-eyed Jesus and adhering religiously to the

gospel of Luke, was filmed in Israel in 1978. Widely used by

missionaries, the first mass mailings began in 1992 but never measured

up to Texas-sized proportions.



Miller says he has applied two concepts often missing from religious PR:

research and logic. The Texas group studied previous mailings and is

applying soft-sell techniques - at least by evangelical standards.



Fire and brimstone definitely takes the back burner.



Local organizers must raise dollars 21 million to distribute the video

statewide, and Miller's team is sending out a newsletter each week with

fundraising, advertising and PR tips. Research has shown that media

relations increases viewership, so Miller put together a media manual

for local teams that explains ratings, outlines the ad agency selection

process and advises locals to do their praying before press conferences,

not during them.



The Internet has been a gift from God, Miller says. One Web site gives

local teams tips for success - such as praying for postal workers.



Although a few journalists have raised questions about the relevance of

the 22-year-old film to modern viewers and ethnic audiences, press has

been largely positive, says Miller. A downright slating might, of

course, have repercussions that go beyond the normal stiff letter to the

editor.



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