Catholic News Agency
Super Bowl viewers this Sunday may be surprised to see two ads that don’t seem to have anything to do with Christianity until the end when the words “Jesus” and “He Gets Us” flash across the screen.
The He Gets Us ads running during the Super Bowl, the most watched U.S. event of the year, were created by a nondenominational group to share the message of Christ’s love to whole new audiences.
Here are 5 things to know about the He Gets Us ad campaign
What is He Gets Us all about?
The two Super Bowl ads created by the campaign will focus on “the behavior Jesus modeled in relationship and conflict,” He Gets Us spokesman Jason Vanderground told CNA.
“Instead of responding to divisiveness in anger or avoiding conflict altogether, Jesus demonstrated how we can and should show confounding love and respect to one another,” said Vanderground.
More than just Super Bowl commercials, the He Gets Us campaign first surfaced in March 2022 and has been causing waves through TV spots, billboards, and digital ads.
Vanderground told CNA the campaign is “a movement to reintroduce people to the Jesus of the Bible and his confounding love and forgiveness. We believe his words and example offer hope and believe they still have relevance in our lives today.”
The campaign is not about politics, or even a specific church or denomination, say the organizers.
“We simply want everyone to understand the authentic Jesus as he’s depicted in the Bible — the Jesus of radical forgiveness, compassion, and love,” the He Gets Us website says.
According to an official He Gets Us partners website, the campaign has reached 431 million YouTube views, connected 113,923 people to churches, and has 19,501 churches involved.
Those numbers are before this Sunday’s Super Bowl ads aired which are expected to reach an audience of close to 100 million.
Who created He Gets Us?
According to Vanderground, a group called HAVEN, a creative hub and marketing resource, is the lead agency behind He Gets Us.
“What began as a campaign to answer the question, ‘How did history’s greatest love story become known as a hate group?’ has quickly grown into a movement,” said Vanderground.
He Gets Us is also an initiative of the Servant Foundation, which is managed by the Kansas-based foundation and donor-advised fund The Signatry.
Founded in 2000 by Kansas philanthropic adviser Bill High, The Signatry has received over $4 billion in contributions and has helped make more than $3 billion in charitable grants, its website says.
According to its website, The Signatry funds “discipleship and outreach efforts, Bible translations, cultural care, church plants, anti-human-trafficking missions, student ministries, poverty alleviation, clean water initiatives, and so much more.”
Who sponsors the He Gets Us Super Bowl commercial?
The campaign is quiet about its specific donors, saying most of its sponsors “choose to remain anonymous.”
Hobby Lobby co-founder David Greene announced in November that he is one of the campaign’s major donors. Greene was confirmed to be one of the campaign’s major donors by Vanderground.
“We are wanting to say—we being a lot of people—that he gets us,” said Greene. “He understands us. He loves who we hate. I think we have to let the public know and create a movement.”
Is He Gets Us a Catholic campaign?
Though it has seen the involvement and sponsorship of many churches, He Gets Us is not directly associated with any one denomination.
The campaign website says that “throughout our shared history, Jesus has represented the ultimate good that humankind is capable of aspiring to … Our agenda is to rediscover the love story of Jesus. Christians, non-Christians, and everybody in between. All of us.”
How much has He Gets Us cost?
The campaign to spread Jesus is spending about $20 million on its Super Bowl TV spots, according to Vanderground.
Originally announced as a $100 million effort, Vanderground told Christianity Today in February that “the goal is to invest about a billion dollars over the next three years,” adding “and that is just the first phase.”