The LDS Church’s successful “I’m a Mormon” public outreach campaign has been given a holiday twist, with a Christmas-themed addition to the Mormon.org website and a significant advertising campaign in New York City.
“At a time when there’s so much commotion and so many messages, we want to invite people to take a few moments to stop and reflect on the birth of Jesus Christ and what it means to all of God’s children,” said Greg Droubay, media director for the Missionary Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. "It's a simple but important reminder of what the Christmas season is all about."
The special LDS Christmas website features the Nativity video from the church’s recent New Testament film project, a brief Christmas message from church President Thomas S. Monson, and links to more of the church’s Bible videos, free Christmas music from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, free e-cards that can be posted on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+ and a place where visitors can go to receive a free Bible.
Droubay said that in addition to providing inspiring and informative Christmas information to those who are not members of the LDS Church, the special website is also there for the use of church members in bringing the Christmas spirit into their homes and in sharing Christmas joy with their families and friends.
“Members can and should help build awareness,” Droubay said in a story published on the LDS Church’s official website. “They can get involved in conversations about the church in person and online. They can mention in their social media, share the Christmas music, send a greeting card to friends and family.”
The public advertising effort in New York City is similar to the “I’m a Mormon” campaign, with Times Square video screens, billboards, bus banners and taxicab toppers and CNN airport TV screens with simple, direct messages: "Christmas is family," "Christmas is love," "Christmas is worship," "Christmas is service" and "Christmas is Jesus Christ."
Although the outdoor advertising approach is similar to the "I'm a Mormon" campaign, which was launched in New York City at about the same time as "The Book of Mormon" musical was winning multiple Tony Awards in June 2011, Droubay said the purpose of the Christmas campaign is "very different."
"It's to focus on Christmas and the birth of Jesus Christ, with the intent to invite people to reflect on what Christmas means to them," he said.
New York City was selected for the campaign "because of the size and very diverse audience we can reach there," Droubay said Tuesday.
"New York City presents a unique opportunity to reach a global audience due to the makeup of the city's residents and visitors," he said. "It's a great place for people to notice and talk about our message."
Although plans for the campaign were formulated long before Hurricane Sandy ripped through the area earlier this month, Droubay said he hopes the effort will lift the spirits of those who are looking for hope and peace in the wake of the storm.
“We would hope, in this difficult world, this busy world, that people will find it a welcome opportunity to reflect a little bit on service, on family, to help those around that might be in need,” Droubay said.
Outside of New York, Droubay said the church is "sharing our Christmas messages through banner ads and video on many websites inviting people to visit mormon.org/Christmas."
Droubay said that "no decisions have been made" about extending the outdoor messaging to other cities next year if the New York campaign proves to be successful. At this point, he said, the focus is on this year's campaign, which he hopes will make a difference in setting a Christian tone for the season.
“We hope through our effort in New York City and on the Internet that we are able to reach tens of millions of people in this country and throughout the world and provide an opportunity for them to reflect on the birth of Jesus Christ,” Droubay said.