|United Methodist mobile campaign tested in Pittsburgh|
A suburb of Pittsburgh features a transit shelter ad
designed to invite people to United Methodist churches at Christmas.
More than 40 billboards and transit shelter ads are dotting the market
during December as part of a new mobile advertising campaign test. UMNS
photos courtesy of Lamar Advertising.
Dec. 3, 2008 | PITTSBURGH (UMNS)
The United Methodist Church is testing a new mobile advertising
strategy from now until Christmas Eve in the Pittsburgh area,
incorporating text messaging and outdoor advertising as a way to woo a
More than 40 billboards and transit shelter ads aimed at reaching
thousands of commuters and pedestrians are going up this week, according
to a Dec. 3 news release from United Methodist Communications.
Other ads will be delivered to subscribers of 4INFO, an ad-supported
text message information service. The ads feature messages of hope and
prompt recipients to text a keyword such as "BELIEVE" to a designated
number. In response, they receive a longer message inviting them to
attend a United Methodist church at Christmas and giving them an
opportunity to learn how to find a church in their area or get more information about The United Methodist Church.
The ads invite people to text a keyword such as “BELIEVE” to a designated number.
Some of the text message ads incorporate text shorthand—for example,
"God is F2T. CW2CU Xmas," which translates "God is free to talk. Can’t
wait to see you Christmas."
"Christmas has been one of our peak advertising times since the
beginning of the campaign—and in these dim economic times, it is
especially important to give people hope and invite them to be part of
our faith family," said the Rev. Larry Hollon, chief executive of United
Methodist Communications. "Now with new media, we can be more
interactive and actually provide addresses of churches in their area."
United Methodist Communications is delivering the $97,000 campaign in
partnership with the church's Western Pennsylvania regional conference.
"We especially hope to bring more young people into our churches, and
that means reaching out in new and innovative ways that are relevant to
our target audience," said Bishop Thomas Bickerton. "We are pleased that
the Pittsburgh area was chosen to test this new strategy."
The 11.5 million-member denomination began its "open hearts, open minds,
open doors" welcoming and advertising campaign in 2001. Numerous
surveys have since indicated that the campaign has increased attendance
and raised awareness about The United Methodist Church.
“...In these dim economic times, it is especially important to give people hope and invite them to be part of our faith family.”The focus of
the U.S. campaign has primarily been cable television commercials aired
each year around Lent, Advent and the back-to-school season. In 2006, a
large-scale outdoor advertising strategy was incorporated in 15 test
markets. In 2007, the denomination ventured into online advertising with
interactive ads incorporating poll questions and video.
–The Rev. Larry Hollon
In 2009, United Methodist Communications will launch the next evolution
of the church's "open hearts, open minds, open doors" campaign by
redefining the traditional church experience as one that extends beyond
the doors of the church and seeks to transform the world. The target
audience will shift to a younger demographic: audiences between the ages
of 18 and 34, as opposed to 25- to 54-year-olds.
To reach a younger audience, the church will add to the mix more
contemporary and less traditional advertising channels such as iTunes,
YouTube and other digital media, the news release said.
*This story is based on a news release by the Office of Public Information for The United Methodist Church.
News media contact: Marta Aldrich, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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United Methodist Communications
Western Pennsylvania Conference