17.6.13

Marketers Tried to Sell Superman From the Pulpit, and That is Wrong.

Let's say you're trying to retell the story of one of the greatest heroes the world has ever seen -- a hero who saves the world -- only you want to dumb that story down and make it flashy and simple because you think your audience is stupid and subsists only on the broadest of strokes. You also want this story to make a lot of money.

Now who who's your biggest market? What target demographic is comfortable with dumbed down savior stories? What group is totally fine with compromising beliefs in favor of pro-American sentiment and bad art? If you guessed "American Christians", then you got that answer faster than Hollywood! And you know what's better than advertising to Christians through TV or talk radio? SLINGING ADS FROM THE PULPIT!

Man of Steel marketers target Christians by sending pastors prepared sermons that compare Superman to Jesus Christ.

If you attend a church and you start to detect an ongoing theme of product placement in sermons, you call that shit out post haste. It's time for some correction in this area.

If you're a pastor, I mean, dude, at least get paid for shilling.

It's not that there aren't links between Superman and Jesus, but maybe save the message for any day other than opening weekend.



9 comments:

  1. That's so silly. Everyone knows Superman's baby story (placed in space capsule to keep him alive amid a planet's destruction) places him parallel with Moses and that basket floating down the river when Pharaoh was killing all the baby boys.

    Why can't Hollywood writers get their theology right?

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  2. I feel you. Ads from the pulpit would be gag inducing. I'd roll my eyes if this happened in my church. I agree in principle. In practice, I think it looks a lot different.

    Let's say I'm a pastor. I'm also a comic book fan. I'm also a comic book movie fan (both of which would be true if God got drunk and made me a pastor). Then I get an offer to go see this movie AND I get a sermon idea and sermon notes. This means I get to go see a movie I'm dying to see anyway for free on opening weekend, a big win because of my paltry salary and, as a pastor, I never do anything fun. Next, I get a break from trying to cook up yet another idea to keep your attention on Sunday morning, giving me a few more hours to do any number of things that could be helping my congregation, my family, or my sanity. Then there's the fact that, though maybe 15% of my congregation might think this is lame, probably 50% will pay more attention than they have in weeks. The youth that I have a hard time reaching will go apeshit. It probably doesn't cross my mind that I'm shilling for a big budget movie. If it does, it's really easy to rationalize.

    BTW, Shuster and Siegel had Jesus in mind when they created Superman. His parents were named Mary and Joseph before DC decided that was too heavy-handed and changed them to Martha and Jonathan. This might be about money, but it isn't totally contrived.

    "Pro-American sentiment"? Did you see the movie?

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    Replies
    1. These are good points, Steve.

      I don't think making connections between Superman and Jesus are bad, but this is the sort of marketing effort gets repeated, and THAT'S what worries me.

      And no, I haven't seen the new film yet. I don't think the film's plot is being used to sell the movie, though.

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  3. Okay, I once started drawing a Super Jesus comic strip as a satire, but apparently reality beat me to it.

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  4. And Man of Steel doesn't even get the gospel right: http://pastorscotloyd.blogspot.com/2013/06/superman-doesnt-get-gospel-right.html

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  5. Back in the day, I got emails from the studio that make the Rocky Balboa Movie attempting to convince me about Rocky's deep Christian faith and why I should mobilize my congregation to go see it.

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    1. It's actually comforting to know this isn't a new thing.

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    2. It all started with The Passion of the Christ, when Mel Gibson hosted screenings at Willowcreek and, I believe, Saddleback. The Chronicles of Narnia and Veggie Tales' "Jonah" both had materials ready for small groups, children's ministries, and youth groups. Shoot, Blue Like Jazz created companion pieces of youth and college groups.

      So I don't think the existence of these support materials inherently wrong. But I think its easy to "smell" the disingenuousness the Superman and Rocky campaigns.

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  6. The guy who wrote the sermon notes shared his reasoning on out of ur. I scratched my head a lot while reading it, especially when he said Christians should be a tourist attraction. I also don't buy his insistence that Christianity is marginalized (exile is his term for it) in the U.S. The post is kind of odd. It's almost like if Ed Wood wrote to explain why Plan Nine From Outer Space is the greatest movie of all time. http://www.outofur.com/archives/2013/06/superman_sermon.html#more

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