Main Menu

United Methodists begin running new ads Sept. 6 (Sept. 9, 2004)

United Methodists begin running new ads Sept. 6 (Sept. 9, 2004)

e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service

United Methodists begin running new ads Sept. 6

Sept. 9, 2004    News media contact:  Michael Wacht*    
407-897-1140     Orlando  {0159}

An e-Review Feature
By Kathy Gilbert**

NASHVILLE (UMNS) — The United Methodist Church will run six television commercials for a two-week period beginning Sept. 6, including one developed for Spanish-speaking viewers.

One of the six television ads the United Methodist Church has been running since Sept. 6 is part of the expression called "Love Letters" and features God expressing the desire to "hear from" people who do not have a relationship with him. The ads will run for two weeks. Graphic provided by United Methodist Communications, Photo #04-0090.

The commercials will run through the week of Sept. 14 on 15 cable television networks. The Hispanic spot "No Estas Obligado" ("You Don't Have To") is part of a rotation that also includes "Love Letter," "Rain/Fence," "Advice," "Rain/Footsteps" and "A Thousand Hands." All together, the ads will air 429 times during their two-week run.

"The message of the church is a message of hope and welcome," said the Rev. Larry Hollon, top executive for United Methodist Communications. "At a time when the world seems divided and angry, it's very important that the people of the United Methodist Church speak of our hope and our openness. Through the message of 'open hearts, open minds and open doors,' we express the hope that the fractures of the world can be overcome and we can see in each person the goodness of our humanity and of the whole creation."

The ads are part of the church's national Igniting Ministry program, a four-year, $20 million effort that began in 2001. Last spring, the church's top legislative assembly approved another $25 million for the program and renewed it for four more years. Igniting Ministry is coordinated by United Methodist Communications.

"No Estas Obligado" is the denomination's first Spanish-language television commercial since the official launch of its media effort in September 2001. The commercial emphasizes acceptance of and service to others as a choice, rather than a requirement, and showcases examples. "No tiene que aceptar a todos...Nosotros lo hacemos porque queremos" ("You don't have to accept everyone...We do it because we choose to"), it says.

The 30-second ad aired on the Telefutura and Telemundo Spanish-language cable networks March 24-April 11, Easter Sunday. Developed by United Methodist Communications in collaboration with a Dallas-based Hispanic ad agency, "No Estas Obligado" also had the input of an advisory committee of Hispanic United Methodist church leaders.

The United Methodist commercials air during Easter, back-to-school and Christmas flights. Those seasons represent times when people are most receptive to spiritual messages, according to the agency's research.

In its latest evaluation of the church's campaign, the Barna Research Group of Ventura, Calif., said people exposed to the United Methodist advertising have a significantly stronger favorable impression of the church than people who have not seen the commercials.

Barna's report concluded that the advertising campaign's messages "appear to be effectively shifting people's attitudes about the United Methodist Church."

"The messages being communicated are understood, and better still, are believable and important to the audience," the report said.

Francisco Litardo, a United Methodist Communications staff executive, leads the Igniting Ministry effort.

For a schedule of the commercials, go to


This article relates to Igniting Ministry.

*Wacht is director of Florida United Methodist Communications and managing editor
of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
**Gilbert is a staff writer for United Methodist News Service.