(With additional reporting by SeeRound.)
A marketing initiative established to remind Brits about the true meaning of Christmas is trying something different this year.
Concerned by the statistic that 51% of people say Jesus’s birth is irrelevant to their Christmas, the founders of ChurchAds.net are focusing on a slogan rather than an eye-catching image.
Since 1995 this ecumenical network, with access to some of the UK’s top advertising executives and designers, has produced striking and sometimes controversial posters.
These have featured the Holy Family in a bus shelter, Jesus modeled on the famous drawing of Che Guevara, and an ultrasound scan in which a halo hovers above the baby’s head.
This year, however, they have swapped their shock tactics for a simple, direct campaign message: Christmas starts with Christ.
Their new website www.christmasstartswithchrist.com explains the reason for the new seasonal thinking, “A movement made up of some of the nation’s leading Christian groups, including the Church of England, the Evangelical Alliance and the Children’s Society, is coming together because we believe Christmas is worth saving.
“Just 12 per cent of adults know the nativity story, and more than one-third of children don’t know whose birthday it is.
“Christmas Starts with Christ is a campaign aimed at helping churches to make Christ and the amazing story of his birth the focus of the nation’s favourite time of year”.
This new approach aims to be more of a movement than a marketing campaign and it has already got several Christian traditions working collaboratively including the Church of England, the Salvation Army, the Methodist Church and the Baptist Union of Great Britain.
Arun Arora, Director of Communications for the Church of England said, “The logo is available for use free of charge, and the more churches that use it, the greater the chance that we can cause the 51 per cent of people who say ‘the birth of Jesus is irrelevant to my Christmas’ to think again!”