Political or Religious Advertising: Yes, I’m a Mormon!

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, commonly known as The Mormon Church, recently launched a new ad campaign. I’m a Mormon ads are sweeping major cities in the United States to help the general public better understand Mormons. The Ads show regular people talking about their lives and hobbies before announcing they are Mormons.

A representative for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints explained that the ads are not scripted; feature no fake stories and no wardrobe. The featured people are real people talking about their real lives.

In this video pro surfer Joy Monahan says, “I’m a woman’s long board champion and I’m a Mormon.”

The Killers band member Brandon Flowers has one of the most recent ads. His video expresses his love for music, family and his faith.

The Mormon Church is using this advertising campaign to attempt to tear down boundaries and stereotypes regarding the Mormon. The ads are supported by the website mormon.org, where you can find profiles of more than 30,000 Mormons worldwide and chat live with representatives from the church. The website has the church’s basic beliefs and answers frequently asked questions such as their beliefs about Jesus Christ, why they don’t drink alcohol or caffeine and what they believe about the Bible.

While the campaign is well developed and paints a picture of Mormons as the basic friendly next-door neighbor, the timing of the advertising campaign cannot go unnoted.

The Mormon Church has been getting a lot of attention lately thanks to Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman Jr. (who?), both members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Unfortunately, a June Gallup poll showed that 22 percent of Americans would not vote for a Mormon candidate. This was once the sentiment about Catholics and African Americans as well, but our country continues to evolve.  While the Church does not endorse any party or candidate, the timing of the ads will most be a decision based on trying to sway general opinions and eliminate fears about voting for a Mormon.

The Mormon Church has made this public statement on various occasions before major elections: “Principles compatible with the gospel are found in the platforms of all major political parties. While the Church does not endorse political candidates, platforms, or parties, members are urged to be full participants in political, governmental, and community affairs.”

Ads will run until February, just after the Republican primaries have started in earnest.

Could the Mormon church have found a way around limits on political campaign contributions in order to gain political support for church members? Do you believe the campaign is effective in changing perceptions?

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