God’s Message Development

The title might be a bit deceiving, but you will understand. I fell in love with public relations and advertising at a young age. Blame it on Disney’s The Kid (I know, not the best representation of PR) and the billboards I am about to talk about.

Three Billboard's from God

Three Billboard's from God

Have you ever seen those billboards from God? Missouri is like billboard capital of the world, so I am sure you have sooner or later. If not, hopefully the three examples will jog your memory.

This campaign was one that really turned heads. It was started by an anonymous donor who approached an ad agency in Florida to run a campaign for three months locally. The goal was to create a spiritual climate and get people to think about a daily relationship with a loving and relevant God. The ad agency put together all of the elements of creating a sticky message. It was so effective that, the campaign went national and survived over a decade.

Simplicity – Black billboard with once sentence in white text, all signed by God

Unexpectedness – When was the last time you saw God literally giving you a sign?

Concreteness – Faith transcends all religious affiliations. People have respect toward faith whether it is Atheism, Buddhism, Islam, or Christianity. We know what people are after, there isn’t a hidden agenda on the billboard. Look at billboards. No logos, no website, nothing. For once just an altruistic message being placed in real life.

Emotions – The messages ranged from being serious to using humor to make people think about God in a new way. Some of my favorites include:

  • Will the road you’re on get you to My place?
  • You think it’s hot here?
  • Keep using my name in vain, I’ll make rush hour longer.

Credibility – I would consider a basic message that lines up with the same messages that are conveyed in the Bible as pretty credible.

Stories – The billboards reflect our lives. They made sense because they fit in with what people were experiencing, heat in Missouri during the summer, or rush hour traffic in KC. They were always relevant, which in turn made the connection that the ad agency was attempting to make between you and God. It made God personal.

I remember seeing these as a kid and I thought that they were genius. So this morning, Google news brought me a gem. A billboard has popped up in Waco, Texas mimicking the “God’s Message” billboards that has an entirely different purpose. Due to the recent conference realignment fight taking place in the Big XII, A&M supporters are having fun with Baylor’s baptist values publicly. This billboard nearly went up over night, so another element that I think belong as a part of the five sticky message should be Relevancy or Timeliness. Enjoy.

God's Message to Baylor

God's (and Texas A&M supporters') Message to Baylor

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About John Peterson

Mass Comm Grad Student & Public Speaking GA at the University of Central Missouri. My passions include public relations, sports, travel, social media, technology, sustainability & dogs.
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2 Responses to God’s Message Development

  1. These billboards are definitely effective but should people really personify God as, “You can run, but you can’t hide from me?” Seems a bit scary for a loving and caring God!

  2. John Peterson says:

    I completely get what you are saying. I didn’t think it was the best of signs, the few that I listed under emotions are easily my favorite. I think it really depends on how the person interprets the message.

    Biblically I think it is suppose to express to them that no matter what wrongs they have done, he has seen them all along, and that he is still willing to grant them grace whenever they are willing to accept it. Or it can be meant to convey how large and caring he is to have so many people in the world, but he is worried about tracking you down personally. It all depends on how you want to see it. In the end, all that matters is that it causes people to think about God.

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