United Methodists Pushing Power of Prayer in TV Commercial

United Methodist Communications
Office of Public Information
810 12th Ave. S.
Nashville, TN 37203
umcpresscenter.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 27, 2006

Contact: Stephen Drachler
(615) 742-5411 office
(615) 456-4710 cell
E-mail:
sdrachler@umcom.org


United Methodists Pushing Power of Prayer in TV Commercial
New Ad Campaign Kicks Off March 29

NASHVILLE A brand new television campaign by The United Methodist Church encourages people to "believe again" in the power of prayer. The denomination will launch a $1.7 million national advertising purchase on March 29 which continues through April 15. An additional $750,000 will be spent on local campaigns utilizing a variety of advertising mediums.

A new television commercial entitled "Prayer" is the latest element of The United Methodist Church's "Open hearts. Open minds. Open doors." media campaign.

In the television spot, a boy carefully writes a note on a piece of paper, then grabs a kite and heads outside. He attaches his handwritten note to the body of the kite and, with great expectation, sends it soaring into the sky. As he brings the kite back to earth, he excitedly gazes heavenward trusting that his hopes and aspirations have reached their intended audience.

"The commercial seeks to inspire us to claim the hope that prayer offers and to embrace prayer as a source of strength, guidance and comfort. Its message reminds us to 'believe again,' and to know that God cares about the desires of our hearts," said the Rev. Larry Hollon, chief executive of United Methodist Communications. "Likewise, we want people to know that United Methodist churches are places where people deeply care about and support one another. We invite anyone who wants to regain a sense of hope to visit one of our churches."

The commercial will air on 18 cable networks, including A & E, ABC Family, Animal Planet, BET, CNN, Discovery, Fox News, Hallmark, CNN Headline News, HGTV, the History Channel, Lifetime Movie, TBS, TNT, TV One, USA, WGN, and the Weather Channel. It is expected to reach more than 65 million viewers.

To increase the impact and reach of the campaign, United Methodist Communications awarded funding to 60 grant recipients across the nation for local media campaigns to supplement the national cable TV ads. Grant recipients matched the funding dollar-for-dollar. Resource materials were also developed for local congregations to explore the theme of prayer through worship, small groups and serving opportunities. The materials address prayer as a means to learn more about ourselves and develop relationships with God and each other.

The "Open hearts. Open minds. Open doors." campaign has been working to raise awareness of The United Methodist Church since 2001. Test market research in September 2005 showed that half of the people exposed to the church's advertising were "very" or "somewhat" willing to visit a United Methodist Church. Research conducted after the August-September television advertising in test markets across the United States reported average first time attendance increases of 9 percent in September 2005 compared to September 2004. The research was conducted by the Barna Research Group.

NOTE: You can view the "Prayer" commercial atumcpresscenter.org.

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