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The 'He Gets Us' commercials promote Jesus. Who's behind them and what is the goal?

A screenshot of one of the 'He Gets Us' campaign advertisements, this one on Reddit.
Patrick Wood
/
NPR
A screenshot of one of the 'He Gets Us' campaign advertisements, this one on Reddit.

Welcome to a new NPR series where we spotlight the people and things making headlines — and the stories behind them.


Jesus Christ is now the center of a multimillion-dollar advertising campaign funded by the founder of Hobby Lobby and others, which is apparently just getting started.

Who is he? Well, in Christianity, he's known as the son of God. But in this scenario, "He" is the center of a marketing campaign that has spread far across the U.S., spanning between billboards, banner ads online, and a forthcoming Super Bowl commercial.

  • The ads all stem from the central idea that "He Gets Us." They discuss how "He" (Jesus Christ) was a refugee, had disdain for hypocrisy, and was also unfairly judged like other marginalized members of modern society. 
  • In one of the commercials, a black and white slideshow of photos tells the story of Central American migrants who must flee their home to avoid persecution. At the end, it is revealed the story being told is that of Jesus and his parents, Mary and Joseph.
  • The ads are funded in part by the family that owns the notably religious craft store chain Hobby Lobby, according to Christianity Today, as well as other evangelical groups, including a foundation called The Signatry. Other donors have kept their identities anonymous.

What's the big deal? It's part of a well-funded campaign that is just getting started.

What are people saying? Smietana told NPR the campaign comes at a time of decline in organized religion:

And, of course, social media had some thoughts:

So what now?

  • The upcoming Super Bowl is expected to see a boost in viewership, with an estimated 100 million-plus people watching the broadcast
  • It means a lot more people will probably be sending out confused tweets about a "Jesus Commercial" — a search term on Twitter that already was flooded after "He Gets Us" ads aired during Sunday's Grammy awards.


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Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Manuela López Restrepo
Manuela López Restrepo is a producer and writer at All Things Considered. She's been at NPR since graduating from The University of Maryland, and has worked at shows like Morning Edition and It's Been A Minute. She lives in Brooklyn with her cat Martin.