3 Things Super Bowl Ads Teach Us About Christian Education


2.6fixedAnother Super Bowl is in
the books. Congratulations to Baltimore and all the Ravens fans out
there. I was glad to see a team with a couple of University of
Alabama alumni win the big game.

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I will admit that I’m more of a college
football fan (Roll Tide) than a pro football fan. But I always tune
in to the Super Bowl, mainly to see the commercials. You can catch
most of them here. Although I wouldn’t go as far as saying
that this year was the best ever for the ads, there were definitely
a few that stuck with me. I don’t think I laughed harder than when
I saw Wonderful Pistachios’ ad. My wife cried at Budweiser’s ad this year, showing that not all
memorable Super Bowl ads have to be funny.

As we were discussing our favorite ads back at
work on Monday, something started to interest me. Just like the
advertisers, children’s ministers put their time, energy, and money
into programs to try to get a message to stick in the minds of
their audience in just a short amount of time.

What makes certain ads better than others? Why
are we still talking about some ads? And what can we learn from
Super Bowl ads that we can apply to Christian education?

Rita J. King wrote an interesting article for LinkedIn that really broke down
the way people watch, respond, and remember advertisements. I
thought it would be interesting to see how we could use a few of
her principles of memory in children’s ministry.

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1. Weight and Engagement-
According to King, “abstract ideas that cannot be directly sensed
carry little value. Instead, tangible weight must be given to an
idea.” For an example, she uses this GoDaddy commercial (no, it’s not the nerd and
the model kissing). She says it makes people feel the urgency of
making the first move.

Anytime we can evoke emotion, the message will
be more likely to stick. In your messages, allow your kids to
really discover the meaning behind the message. Do activities that
allow them to have an experience. Remember, we learn by doing. When
you make the message come alive, your kids will be more likely to
apply it to their daily lives.

2. Harmony- King explains,
“Like a crew rowing in unison, the elements of an ad should operate
toward a single key message.” She uses this Best Buy ad as an example of a single key
message : in this case,  being knowledgeable and ready to

Here are two things I take from this memory
principle. First, we need to focus our message. At Group, we use a
one-lesson, one-point strategy. Instead of flooding kids’ minds
with an overflow of info that they will soon forget, we focus on a
single Bible point. The second thing I would like to point out is
how amazing it is when every member of a family is hearing the same
Bible point. That is one of the cool things about the new FaithWeaver
NOW Sunday School
. Learning the same Bible point in
age-appropriate ways helps families to carry on their faith
discussion throughout the week.

3. Entanglement- King warns,
“A commercial may be memorable without being valuable, if what ends
up being remembered is the content rather than the product or
brand.” She uses the example of Toyota’s RAV4 commercial. Instead of the car,
you end up remembering the star, Kaley Cuoco.

What do we want our kids to remember when they
come to us? Putting on big events and  providing flashy
effects is cool, but if these things overshadow Jesus in kids’
minds, we are missing the mark. I’m not saying there’s not a place
for those things; it’s actually the opposite. We should do more to
grab kids’ attention. But we must remember to entangle Jesus in
everything we do. Kids should walk away wowed by God’s love.


What did you do for Super Bowl Sunday? I read
that one church in South Carolina moved their Sunday night services
to Saturday so their crew wouldn’t have to miss the big game. Smart
move or disrespectful? What do you think? Share with us your
thoughts (and favorite commercials) in the comment section


About Author

David Jennings

David has served kids around the world for the majority of his life. From Texas to Romania, he has followed where God has led him. Most recently, he served for six years as a children's director in the great state of Alabama before moving to Colorado to work for Group as an associate editor.


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