It can be a challenge to find common ground these days. Amidst political polarization and ongoing pandemic recovery, Americans are stressed and divided. But on February 12, around a third of the country will turn on their televisions to experience Super Bowl LVII.
One of the greatest cultural touchstones in the United States, the big game is known as much for football as it is for the eye-catching commercials that air between plays and touchdowns. It’s into this moment of fixed attention that two groundbreaking ads will air—not featuring a product but a person: Jesus.
For the first time ever, more than 100 million Americans will see ad spots that feature the loving, compassionate Jesus of the Bible—and it’s all thanks to the “He Gets Us” campaign.
Unprecedented Ads for an Unprecedented Cultural Moment
We live in a time when church attendance is down and religious volunteering is dropping. While 75 percent of Americans self-identified as Christians in 2011, only 63 percent said the same a decade later. While Christians often describe themselves as giving, compassionate, and loving, non-Christians often see Christians as against them—not for them.
At the same time, researchers are seeing rising spiritual openness as three out of four American adults say they want to grow spiritually. Nearly half of Americans say they are more open to God today than they were before the COVID-19 pandemic.
All of these realities lead to a singular conclusion: it’s time for the real Jesus to take center stage in the American cultural imagination. And that’s exactly what the He Gets Us campaign is doing. While the Super Bowl will represent the largest splash their ads have made, the campaign has already made a tremendous impact. Since the spring of 2022, He Gets Us ads have made nearly 6.5 billion impressions. Millions of people experience He Gets Us content every week through social media, YouTube, and television ads.
In a world that’s confused about who Jesus is, what Christians believe, and why the gospel matters, He Gets Us ads clear up confusion and center a compassionate Christ. With nearly a third of the country expected to watch the Super Bowl, ads about Jesus during the event matter in a massive way.
Declaring Who Jesus Really Is
Was Jesus just a really good teacher?
Is Jesus as judgmental and legalistic as his followers seem to be?
Does who Jesus is have any bearing on my life today?
These are just some of the many questions that people have about the person of Jesus. The He Gets Us ads during the Super Bowl will begin to answer those questions and invite people to continue considering and learning about who Jesus really is.
“Jesus understands what it’s like to be human as he faced many of the emotions and struggles that we go through every day,” explains Jordan Carson, spokesperson and director of communication for He Gets Us. “We want to raise the respect for Jesus in the eyes of those who may feel marginalized, or even hurt by the church because we believe that Jesus is for everyone.”
Meeting People Where They Are
There are nearly endless reasons why someone may have a false notion of who Jesus is. Perhaps they grew up in a home or church setting that taught them a skewed version of the gospel. Maybe they’ve never darkened the door of a sanctuary and their concept of Christ is a hodgepodge of cultural perceptions. It could even be that someone who claimed to love the Lord hurt them in a significant way, deeply confusing them about who Jesus is.
He Gets Us ads wade into these murky waters with clear intentionality and a hopeful voice.
“Our primary goal for the He Gets Us movement is to reintroduce people to Jesus—especially those who may be skeptical of Christianity—by highlighting his relevance in our everyday lives,” says Carson.
Encouraging Christians to Reflect the Love of Jesus
He Gets Us aims to introduce and reintroduce non-Christians to the person of Jesus in significant ways, but their value extends into the lives of Christians as well. Filled with reminders of the unconditional love, compassion, and mercy of Jesus, the ads reinspire Christians to follow their first love.
“A large part of this movement is to call upon Christians to reflect Jesus by demonstrating the unconditional love and forgiveness he exemplified,” says Carson. “It’s a reminder for us, as Christians, to reflect on our own actions, and to align ourselves with how Jesus wanted us to treat and love one another.”
In order to further empower believers to reflect Jesus, He Gets Us Super Bowl ads center around a theme called “The Third Way.” This theme encourages Christians to reject the divisive and polarized nature of our cultural moment and to choose respect, kindness, and love in their interactions with others, just as Jesus did. He demonstrated unconditional love to everyone by rejecting both anger and apathy in favor of agape love, that sacrificial love that unites and heals.
Supporting Local Churches
In addition to serving individual Christians and non-Christians alike, the He Gets Us ads benefit the church as well. In fact, the campaign has already served churches in meaningful ways, connecting interested ad-viewers with churches and pastors in their local communities. The Super Bowl ads will almost certainly create an influx of curious individuals eager to connect with someone who lives like Jesus did.
As many pastors and ministry leaders are grappling with the ongoing effects of the pandemic on church attendance, the He Gets Us campaign offers partnership and support. Church leaders can be encouraged by the ways the campaign is meeting people where they are, and helping them find their way to local Jesus-followers who can continue the conversation the ads began.
Join the Campaign
Amid bites of nachos and cheers for touchdowns, millions of people will experience a depiction of the real Jesus of the Bible during the Super Bowl. Christians who want to be ready to continue the conversation with their friends and neighbors can find support and resources through He Gets Us.
“People who don’t follow Jesus or know much about him will have questions,” says Carson, “so we would suggest that Christians be prepared to engage in conversation with their friends and family about what they saw.” To get prepared or connected, text SUPER BOWL to 70193.