Sunday, 30 September 2012

Godbaby advert reactions

http://churchads.net/2012/index.html
Some people find this advert shocking. The truly shocking thing about it is in the title 'Godbaby' - a brilliant use of a new compound word. It starkly states what Christians believe - that Jesus is both fully divine and fully human. And yes, that is a shocking idea. It's also good news that God communicates with us in a language even the youngest child can understand - in this case with the wordless cry of a new-born baby'

The BBC has now noticed the Godbaby advert produced for Christmas 2012 by ChurchAds.net. The BBC said early today that it was produced by the Church of England, which is not the case. The annual Christmas campaign is produced by an ecumenical network, involving people across the churches of the UK, using the services of award winning advertising executives and designers who give their work free. 

I wrote a brief post Godbaby when the 2012 campaign was launched nearly a month ago. Now the advert is getting more noticed it's time to gather some more reaction. 

Richard Littledale writes in Plastic Fantastic that he thinks it will make his job as a preacher harder not easier.
"At Christmas I want to declare by every means at my disposal that God should be taken seriously, and this plastic saviour with his cutesy face and his sheepy romper suit who cannot be bought in the shops does not feel like he is on my side."
Danny Webster in Godbaby Controversy points out that
"The test will be whether it work, when on the billboards and bus stops it provokes conversation and gets people talking about Christ at a time when he is often neglected."
Nick Baines in What Really Matters states clearly, "I don't like it." But goes on to say that whether or not he likes it is not the point.
"The advert is aimed at getting people to notice it and talk about it. It is aimed not at those already in the club, but those outside. If it upsets Christians, we have to ask if this is, in fact, what the Jesus of the Gospels did, too. It was the religious people who nailed Jesus because they thought he was 'tacky' and 'blasphemous'. Christians get upset regularly by anything that pushes the implications of God truly becoming human – and, therefore, doing human things."

Simon Jenkins is a member of the team behind ChurchAds.Net and in Godbaby expresses admiration for the poster. Among other things he says that 
"it undercuts commercial Christmas by saying in effect, ‘It’s not products you need, but Godbaby’.
So - what do your think?

8 comments:

  1. I can't say I find it shocking at all but I guess the ad isn't aimed at me. Challenging maybe? Not sure that everybody will understand 'saves the world', but as you indicated in the comments to your original post, anything that helps people to look beyond the ickle baby Jesus sweetly sleeping sentimentality of crib services and nativity plays can only be good.

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    Replies
    1. The "saves the world" phrase will probably be the least understood I think - but if it gets some people thinking and asking 'well how does that work?' the advert won't be wasted.

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  2. I hadn't seen this before reading your post. Personally I don't like it, mainly because the title 'Godbaby' doesn't mean anything, it just seems a really silly name, I don't think it's even that clever. And also because Christmas is a time when lots of people who don't got to church regularly, do come along, and they generally are the ones that have this 'nicey-nicey-ickle-babyJesus' view of Christianity which this advert just reiterates.
    On their website it says this:
    'The striking image of a fictional "Godbaby toy" aims to make the Christmas story appeal to the younger generation and puts Christ at the centre of conversations. The doll represents the baby Jesus and plays on the idea of Christmas being a time when everyone is searching for that 'must-have' Christmas gift.

    This obsession means we focus too much on the material nature of the festival and miss the point – that Jesus, the true Godbaby, was born human and must never be turned into a commodity.'

    Lots of good points there but all a bit mixed up - the Christmas story already does appeal to younger generation with nativity plays and all the rest being hugely popular, it's more the adults who have gone away or got a bit cynnical that need to be reached. And the younger generation probably won't get the irony of the advert anyway!

    I do really like some of their campaigns and I think its great they are trying to do something different but this is just noe one of my faves!
    redx

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    Replies
    1. I don't think it's one of ChurchAds best posters, but I think it's striking enough to get noticed and talked about - which I think is the point. I don't agree that 'Godbaby' doesn't mean anything - although it could be confusing - I think it is clever. I also like the idea of a gift you can't buy - not available in the shops (in the small print).

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  3. It is pure and utter Rubbish not worth the ink used to print it. It will not appeal to any generation except to make them laugh out loud. It insults god, the nativity and everything it stands for by this demeaning and blasphemous picture. No wonder so many people don't have an interest in the Church

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    Replies
    1. I don't think it's intended to insult God, but I can see how it could be interpreted that way.

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  4. Christian propaganda. Absolutely ridiculous waste of time. Your God is dead. Long live secular thought and freedom. There is absolutely no evidence that christ if he existed at all was born on the 25th December. Merry comercialmass everyone.

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  5. And a merry Christmas to you too Anonymous. I completely agree there is no evidence that Christ was born on 25th December - that's simply the date the church chooses to celebrate Christ's birth, which in the northern hemisphere coincides with the days getting light after the shortest day - a reason for celebrations whether or not you believe in Christ. It is more likely Jesus was born in May, but we don't know. I don't think the date matters. There is actually considerable evidence about the life of Jesus of Nazareth - more than that for Julius Caesar. As for God being dead - it would be interesting to know what you mean by that.

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