Who is Behind ‘He Gets Us’ Ad Campaign and Why?

Thomas CostelloUncategorized 2 Comments

The Refugee. The Rebel. That Day. These are just a few titles you may have seen in recent ads that end up focusing on Jesus. But who is behind ‘He Gets Us’ ads?

In addition, these moving videos were featured during the 2023 and 2024 Super Bowls. Overall, this is the highest-spending national campaign devoted to promoting Jesus…ever!

After seeing these powerful ads, many are asking: who is behind the national He Gets Us campaign? This post will dive into what the ads are all about and who is funding them.

Estimated reading time: 13 minutes

What is He Gets Us About?

What is He Gets Us About?

Every member of our team stopped in their tracks the first time they saw one of these ads. The photography, storytelling, and cinematography are riveting.

But you don’t immediately realize these are religious-themed ads.

On the contrary, they have a modern look, feel, and storyline. And don’t mention Jesus until the very end.

For example, “The Birth” tells the story of a teenage girl who gets pregnant, and her boyfriend isn’t the father of the baby.

The story proceeds to tell about the worries and difficulties they encounter, which any modern teenage mom could relate to. And then, in the final 10 seconds, we realize the story is about Mary, Joseph, and Jesus Christ.

The ad ends with a black background and words on the screen:

Jesus was born to a teen mom.

He gets us. All of us.

The “He” of the He Gets Us campaign is Jesus. He is someone who can understand and sympathize with hurting people. We know this because He experienced the same hurt, heartache, and challenges.

He Gets Us videos that promote Jesus

What Are the He Gets Us Ads Like?

The 30-second to one-minute ads each feature a series of stark black-and-white photos. They started running in spring 2022.

Some have a voiceover and text. Others are simply music with poignant photography.

The He Gets Us ads end with taglines such as

  • Jesus felt heartbreak
  • Jesus had to control his outrage
  • Jesus rejected resentment on the cross
  • Jesus was canceled

The final word is: He gets us, all of us.

You can also find these taglines on social media posts and billboards throughout the nation.

Bottom line, Jesus understands contemporary issues because He experienced the same emotions, trials, and pain.

What is the Purpose of He Gets Us Ads?

According to their About page, “He Gets Us is a movement to reintroduce people to the Jesus of the Bible and his confounding love and forgiveness.”

You see the ads on television, the internet, social media, YouTube, and billboards across the nation. Everything drives people to the hegetsus.com website.

On the website, visitors can

  • Watch videos
  • Read articles
  • Sign up for prayer or positivity via text message
  • Access Bible reading plans
  • Connect with someone local
  • Explore their questions in an Alpha group
  • And even get free gear (up to one t-shirt, one sticker, and one hat)

Ultimately, the group is out to connect people to Jesus’ message and explore His teachings. Their website clearly states that this is a starting point.

Above all, they’re creating an open space to invite anyone and everyone to engage and learn more.

Who is Behind ‘He Gets Us’?

Who is Behind ‘He Gets Us'?

As soon as people see these Jesus ads, they immediately wonder who is behind the He Gets Us ads and how they’re receiving funding for the marketing campaign.

Is a specific religious group responsible? Or are evangelical Christians behind it?

Let’s dive into these questions.

What Religion is He Gets Us?

Although it is Christian-based, the group behind He Gets Us isn’t affiliated with a particular church or denomination.

They are self-described “Jesus fans and followers.”

The group has intentionally avoided labels and classifications. Overall, their mission is to introduce people to the authentic Jesus of the Bible who is known for love, compassion, and radical forgiveness. They haven’t highlighted any agenda beyond connecting people to Jesus and exploring a relationship with Him through prayer, Bible study, and connecting with a local church.

Some have asked specific questions like: Is He Gets Us Mormon? That isn’t the case, although there could be Mormon donors in the group, which has largely remained anonymous.

According to the Catholic News Agency, He Gets Us spokesperson Jason Vanderground says that many Catholics have been involved with the development of the campaign, although, again, it’s not associated with any particular denomination.

In addition, the campaign has received positive feedback from Catholic media and the Catholic church.

Who is He Gets Us Affiliated With?

The Campaign of He Get us is an LLC (limited liability company) and a subsidiary of the Servant Foundation, a faith-based organization.

The Servant Foundation is a nonprofit based in Missouri that was incorporated in May 2000. And it’s managed by The Signatry.

According to their website, The Signatry is a ministry dedicated to expanding the kingdom through generosity. They have facilitated over $4 billion in transformational grants for nonprofits since their founding.

Who is Funding the Ads?

When it comes to He Gets Us, the campaign spokesperson has said that a group of diverse individuals and like-minded families have contributed, but wish to remain anonymous. They want the focus to remain on Jesus.

So, specific donors are challenging to identify by name. However, in November 2022, Hobby Lobby leader David Green disclosed to radio host Glenn Beck that he was helping to fund the He Gets Us campaign. He also mentioned that the ads would be featured in the 2023 Super Bowl.

David Green is the billionaire CEO and founder of Hobby Lobby – a nationwide chain of craft stores. He is also a devout Christian and has supported numerous evangelical causes over the years.

According to Wikipedia, Green donates half of pretax earnings from the Hobby Lobby family to a portfolio of evangelical ministries.

How Much Money is Being Spent on He Gets Us Super Bowl Ads?

Now let’s move on to talk about how much money is being spent to get the ad plays.

Religion News Service reports that the Super Bowl ads will cost around $20 million.

And this could be just the first phase. Overall, the goal is to invest about a billion dollars over the next three years.

This really remarkable ad spend hasn’t been seen before and has been breaking news reported in many media outlets.

The advertising budgets required to run ads during football games, and specifically, NFL playoff games, are significant. But nothing compared to the Big Game.

Many Super Bowl fans are more interested in the halftime show and commercials than the football game itself.

Plus, the game reaches millions. The 2022 Super Bowl had an estimated 112 million total viewers. If you have the financial resources, advertising during the Super Bowl makes sense as you’ll reach a mass audience and have a tremendous impact.

major brands pay millions for super bowl ads plays

Who Makes the Ads?

Haven is the company behind the marketing campaign. They are a marketing, messaging, and branding firm based in Grand Haven, Michigan.

Havens’s Founder and Chief Creative Officer is Bill McKendry, and the president is Jason Vanderground. Vanderground has been the official spokesperson for the He Gets Us campaign.

According to their website, their role in this slick marketing campaign includes

  • Audience and Market Research
  • Creative Strategy
  • Go-to-Market Campaign
  • Resource Management

McKendry was recently a featured guest on the Carey Nieuwhof podcast, one of the most popular leadership podcasts among Christian pastors and leaders. During the interview, he touched on his views on marketing and also spoke specifically about the He Gets Us ad campaign and the upcoming Super Bowl ads.

Jesus lived not for political organization, He was fed up with politics, too

Who is the Intended Audience for He Gets Us Ads?

The ads are targeted at “spiritually open skeptics.” This intended audience covers a range of people in today’s culture.

Many might be open to spirituality but skeptical about organized religion and the traditional church.

Others who have never heard of Jesus may also find themselves drawn to these powerful videos and stories.

Finally, those who have had negative experiences with religion may find themselves seeing Jesus in a fresh way.

Numerous studies have shown that attitudes toward Christianity are changing.

Shocking church abuse scandals have come to light and rocked peoples’ trust in religious leadership and the church.

Christians are also commonly portrayed in a negative light in society. They are often labeled as being bigots, intolerant, and out of touch.

By focusing on Jesus’ original message of compassion, love, and hope, the He Gets Us campaign hopes to break through these stereotypes.

These ads are intended to be a bridge of understanding between beliefs and modern life.

The He Gets Us ad campaign is aimed at connecting people who have been hurt by traditional religion to a new way of understanding who Jesus is.

As society continues to move away from traditional Christian values, He Gets Us media messages focus on who Jesus is and how he still speaks today.

Is the He Gets Us Ad Campaign Successful?

Is the He Gets Us Ad Campaign Successful?

It’s clear that the He Gets Us ad campaign has created a lot of buzz. Although many have questioned who is behind He Gets Us, and concerns have been raised, the overall message and intention seem to be mostly well-received.

The leaders of the marketing group running the campaign said they saw four and a half million actions in the first 3 weeks of the campaign. That means clicks, shares, engagements, etc. In addition, the videos have received over 500 million views.

Since then, campaign organizers have continued to set and measure new KPIs (key performance indicators). For example, looking at how people’s attitudes towards Jesus change after watching the videos. Or whether they’re more likely to read the Bible.

Only time will tell the ultimate impact of this campaign. But like anything that gathers attention, there are both fans and foes of the initiative.

What Do the Critics Say?

On one hand, those who would not identify as Christians are concerned that people with a right-wing, conservative political agenda fund this campaign. A few mention that it does not line up with the campaign’s Christian funders. They say that they have supported anti-LGBTQ+ and anti-abortion laws and causes in the past.

Connected to this, on its website, the campaign notes that “probably the most common questions” received are about its stance on the LGBTQ+ community. “So let us be clear in our opinion. Jesus loves gay people and Jesus loves trans people … No matter who you are, YOU are invited to explore the story of Jesus and consider what it means for your life.”

In addition, although many Christians and religious leaders have voiced a positive reaction to the ads, there are also critics. Here are a few things they have to say.

Who was Jesus, really?

One criticism is that the ads present Jesus as a human example and not a divine Savior. In other words, the ads might be misleading because they fail to make it clear that Jesus wasn’t just another guy…He was God’s son and the Savior of the world.

However, the He Gets Us About page is pretty clear about their beliefs. To quote directly, they state their position as:

“People who believe he was much more than just a good guy and a profound teacher. And that Jesus is the son of God, who came to Earth, died, and was resurrected, then returned to heaven and is alive today.”

They are straightforward about Christianity’s savior and His divine nature. Jesus wasn’t just a great teacher or social activist.

Social Justice vs Biblical Justice

Another criticism is that the campaign is pandering to the culture war. Protests and social justice issues have dominated national dialogue in recent years. And the ads feature scenes that seem to reflect this conflict, even featuring protest scenes.

Critics say the ads portray a divisive “us vs them” message. This aligns Jesus with the social justice cause portrayed in popular culture, but that may not be accurate as Jesus was ultimately about biblical justice.

One of the campaign billboards appeared to specifically say, “Jesus was fed up with politics, too.”

Although that might make some people uncomfortable, it certainly aligns with public opinion. Public trust in leaders and the federal government has been steadily decreasing.

People have a negative view of government and religious organizations compared to just a nonprofit

Jesus and Marketing

Another perennial debate in the Christian community is about whether Jesus should be “marketed” or what it means to “market Jesus.”

Over the years, some have drawn a close parallel between evangelism and marketing. Church marketers would define marketing as simply communicating a story.

For Christians, that means an active approach to spreading the good news of Jesus by any and all means possible. And that includes using modern technology, techniques, and marketing methods.

The stickier issue relates to the money that most forms of marketing require.

Should Christians spend a billion dollars on commercials and social media ads? Is that the best way to use the money? You’ll find a range of opinions here.

The Bottom Line

Bottom Line

At the end of the day, these ads are about introducing people to Jesus as He is represented in the Bible. They’re only 30-60 seconds, so they cannot function as a complete theological primer.

The team behind He Gets Us understands that some people who watch the ads might not fully accept who Jesus is and what He stands for. Or they might have some mistaken impressions.

But the ads’ purpose is to spark an authentic conversation about who Jesus is, who He claimed to be, and who His followers believe Him to be.

The campaign is a conversation starter.

By using modern language and visuals, the He Gets Us campaign is continuing to open doors for conversations about who Jesus is and what He stands for.

Find out more and view the videos discussed in this post at hegetsus.com/.

What are your thoughts on these ads?

More on Church Communications

About The Author

Comments 2

  1. Love these ads and I hope they are successful in their intended purpose. Even if you’re not a Christian, Jesus is a good role model for being a good human being.

  2. Thanks for the wonderful Super Bowel commercials ! What a blessing y’all are. Praying folks respond and get to know Jesus ! Praying for y’all to continue to spread the Love of Jesus !

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *