Mormon Ads

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For many years, leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have sponsored advertising campaigns for various reasons. Several decades ago, the Church place multi-page ads in Readers' Digest Magazine explaining the basics of the gospel and inviting people to meet with Latter-day Saint missionaries. An interesting result of these ads was the exposure of a number of people in Africa to the basic tenets of the gospel. In one area, a group began meeting together in anticipation that the Church would eventually establish a formal presence there, which eventually happened.

Later, the Church of Jesus Christ sponsored television ads. Such ads were meant to enhance family life and were not aimed at drawing converts. These were messages for husbands, wives, and parents.

In 2010 the Church of Jesus Christ began making short videos about everyday Latter-day Saints in an effort to show who they are and what they are like. This campaign was a response to studies which showed that most people have erroneous ideas about who members of the Church are. Some think Latter-day Saints are like the Amish, which is untrue, and some equate members of the Church with fundamentalist polygamist groups—also a false notion.

Mormon Church ad

When the Book of Mormon Musical launched in New York City in 2011 and began garnering awards for its irreverent, even obscene, satire of religion in general and Mormonism specifically, the Church decided to add New York to its list of nine original American pilot cities (Baton Rouge, Colorado Springs, Jacksonville, Minneapolis, Oklahoma City, Pittsburgh, Rochester, St. Louis, and Tucson) where the ads would be shown. But when the Church of Jesus Christ chose New York, the launch was huge, with giant displays in Times Square and in taxis around the city. The ads referred people to the website, where they could read the profiles of more than 30,000 Latter-day Saints, chat live with representatives who would answer questions about the faith, and watch dozens of videos giving a glimpse into the lives of Latter-day Saints from all over the world. [1]

The diversity of members of the Church of Jesus Christ is reflected in New York City, where Church membership has grown rapidly in the last decade. Since 2000, membership has increased by more than 75 percent to 84,000 members in New York state (2022 statistic). The common thread that ties the diverse membership together is their desire to follow Jesus Christ. Because of these ads in New York City, the missionaries in the area received calls from local hotels like the Ritz Carlton and the Marriott because people keep taking copies of the Book of Mormon as souvenirs and they need replacement copies.

Starting October 3, 2011, the Church launched the "I'm a Mormon" campaign in 13 cities in the U.S. and Australia. The campaign included television spots, billboards, and ads on buses and on the Internet. [2] The media ads ran through March 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona; Atlanta, Georgia; Denver, Colorado; Spokane and Seattle, Washington; Austin and San Antonio, Texas; Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska; and Indianapolis, Fort Wayne and South Bend, Indiana. The campaign also spread internationally with ads in Brisbane, Australia. Some high-profile members of the Church were featured, such as Gladys Knight, Lindsey Stirling, Elaine Bradley, Brandon Flowers, Will Hopoate, Bruce Summerhays, Paora Winitana, Norman Tolk, and Jason F. Wright.

The campaign ran through 2018.

During the campaign, a documentary premiered in 2014 called "Meet the Mormons," which examined the diverse lives of six members of the Church of Jesus Christ.

History of the "I'm a Mormon" Campaign

The Church website was launched in 2001 in preparation for the 2001 Winter Olympics to be held in Salt Lake City, Utah. At that time, the main purpose of the website was to present the main doctrines of the Church of Jesus Christ. In 2008, the Church missionary department and Bonneville Communications led a massive research study that showed how unfamiliar people were with members of the Church and Mormonism. Those who met Latter-day Saints, sometimes called Mormons, were favorably impressed by them, but those who had not met members of the Church tended to hold unfavorable opinions borne of lack of information. The Church decided to put real Latter-day Saints on display for everyone to meet.

In 2010 the website continued to explain basic Church doctrines, but also introduced members of the Church in short film clips that showed their diversity, vocational interests, and hobbies. Members of the Church of Jesus Christ were invited to add their personal profiles to the website, and they have done so in droves.

The Church has embraced electronic media as a way to take the gospel to the four corners of the earth. The church’s Facebook page quickly gained 835,000 fans. Its potential Facebook reach is 2.4 million (followers). The Church’s Youtube media channel has 2.31 subscriptions. The Church’s Twitter account has 453,000 followers. The Church’s Instagram account lists 1.2 million followers.

In the year following the ad campaign's release (fall 2011 to fall 2012) reported a total of 110,000 member profiles in 20 different languages, 15 million visitors, 640,000 chats with missionaries, and 46 million page views. [3]

The advertising campaign of the Church of Jesus Christ helped correct misconceptions and stereotypes.

Mormon advertising, or Mormon Ads, is not to be confused with The New Era magazine feature that was called "Mormonad." Those continued in almost every issue of the magazine through the 1980s, '90s, and 2000s. See LDS Living, "Who had the best Mormonads: ’80s, ’90s, or 2000s kids?"