This year’s lineup of Super Bowl commercials will include at least three offerings from religious organizations.
“He Gets Us,” the marketing campaign aimed at connecting people with Jesus, will once again be part of the big night, and it will be joined by Hallow, a Catholic app, and Robert Kraft’s Foundation to Combat Antisemitism.
What is ‘He Gets Us’?
“He Gets Us” aired two commercials during last year’s Super Bowl. The first encouraged viewers to love one another as openly as children do, while the other was about Jesus’ commitment to caring for everyone, including his enemies, according to Campaign U.S.
The Super Bowl ads were met with mixed reactions, as the Deseret News previously reported. Both commercials landed in the top 15 of USA Today’s Ad Meter, but some viewers questioned why the organization spent so much money on the pricey air time instead of on charitable initiatives.
“With the money the ‘He Gets Us’ people spent on their right-wing Jesus ads, they could permanently house 1,563 people experiencing homelessness,” tweeted Sawyer Hackett, a Democratic strategist, during last year’s big game.
Before the 2023 Super Bowl, a spokesperson for “He Gets Us” told the Deseret News that the organization is focused on being inclusive and reaching people in a variety of ways, and that it modeled its efforts on Bible stories about evangelism.
“If you look at the Bible, during Jesus’ life, people took different steps and avenues to speak out about big issues. That’s exactly what this campaign is doing. We’re utilizing these resources to be able to reach more people,” she said.
In addition to paying to air commercials during this year’s Super Bowl, “He Gets Us” organized a day of service Saturday in Las Vegas.
Volunteers, including Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson and former Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy, offered more than 1,500 Las Vegas residents a hot lunch and groceries to take home, and led kids through a series of fun football drills.
“We’re committed to bringing more people more opportunities to see, engage with, and experience the confounding love of Jesus,” said Ken Calwell, CEO of Come Near, the nonprofit organization that manages “He Gets Us,” in a statement sent to the Deseret News.
Super Bowl commercials about religion
Like “He Gets Us,” Hallow is hoping to use its time in the Super Bowl spotlight to get people thinking about God and faith.
“Our hope is that it reaches out to someone who maybe hasn’t prayed in a long time, that it might just allow someone somewhere an opportunity to let God into their hearts for the first time,” said the prayer and meditation app’s CEO, Alex Jones, to National Catholic Reporter.
In the Hallow ad, actors Mark Wahlberg and Jonathan Roumie, who plays Jesus in “The Chosen,” will lead viewers in a prayer and remind them that Lent, the religious season that builds up to Easter, begins on Wednesday, per National Catholic Reporter.
The article noted that the 30-second ad will air during the second quarter in 14 markets. Hallow was able to save money by not going for a national audience.
“If we can reach out to just one person ... in a tough place, someone lost — and help them to begin a journey back to God, then yes, it will have been worth it,” Jones said.
The third faith-based organization that will air a Super Bowl commercial, the Foundation to Combat Antisemitism, has a different goal than the other two.
It aims to draw attention to the specific issue of antisemitism, rather than the broader topic of personal faith, according to Religion Unplugged.
Robert Kraft, the Foundation’s founder and owner of the NFL’s New England Patriots, has repeatedly spoken out about antisemitism in recent years.
“We must do more to make people aware that antisemitism is a growing threat against Jews on social media and in communities across the country. I have committed tremendous resources toward this effort,” he said in a statement in late 2022, as the Deseret News previously reported.