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Evangelical Lutherans Spread 'Brand' through Ad Campaign

Evangelical Lutherans Spread 'Brand' through Ad Campaign

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is seeking to market its "brand" in a new advertising campaign.

Amid falling membership numbers, the ELCA launched television ads on Monday to spread awareness about the denomination and the hope and care it's offering to the world.

With the tag line "God's work, our hands," the television spots are being aired on national cable channels, including the Fox News channel, and other selected television markets.

"By putting this comprehensive plan into action, we hope to spread the word about what God is doing in and through the ELCA," said Kristi S. Bangert, executive director of ELCA Communication Services, as reported by the denomination's news publication.

One of the currently running ads features Evangelical Lutherans feeding the homeless in a restaurant setting with real china and silverware. Another illustrates ELCA's mission work in Senegal where women are taught how to start their own businesses.

The signature image in the ads is a cross – whether in a soup bowl or formed by two pencils on a book.

The stories are also being spread through print, billboard and bus ads.

The ELCA first announced a branding campaign in 2007, expressing hope that simple and powerful communication to the public will help grow their outreach and turn the tide on shrinking membership.

According to the National Council of Churches' 2009 yearbook, membership in the ELCA decreased 1.35 percent to 4.7 million members. It was one of many mainline denominations reporting membership losses.

Other national churches, including the United Methodist Church, have also designed ad campaigns to raise awareness and draw more people.

United Methodists began advertising in 2001 and although they reported a 0.80 percent drop this past year, they say the ads have been successful in increasing attendance.

The ELCA urges its member churches to get involved in the campaign by distributing postcards and posting outdoor banners as well as web banners.

The second part of the branding campaign is scheduled to launch on May 11.