A couple of controversial multimillion-dollar Christian advertisement campaigns featuring foot-washing scenes faced a holy mess during the 2024 Super Bowl, officially known as the Super Bowl LVIII.
Foot washing is a symbolic act often associated with humility, service, and purification in various religious traditions, particularly Christianity. But the complex biblical reference may have gone right over some National Football League (NFL) supporters’ heads.
Appearing on Sunday night, February 11, 2024, from the Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada, two ads from a religious campaign entitled He Gets Us left critics “toe-tally” conflicted.
He Gets Us is an American religious advertising campaign that was first launched in 2022.
According to Jacobin, the campaign’s stated goal is to “reintroduce people to the Jesus of the Bible.”
One of the campaign’s backers is billionaire David Green, the founder of retail company Hobby Lobby. According to The Washington Post, $100 million was initially spent on the campaign.
The ad first faced criticism for its donors’ conflicting values, including funding anti-abortion and anti-LGBTQ+ organizations, leading to debates over its political stance and biblical integrity.
He Gets Us campaign is run by religious non-profits and aims to reintroduce Jesus
This time around, He Gets Us made a return to the big game with two new spots, including one featuring people washing feet, HuffPost reported.
The first of the two ads, a 60-second spot titled Foot Washing, aired during the game’s first quarter, while the second, a shorter 15-second ad titled Who is My Neighbor?, was scheduled for the fourth quarter, as per VT.
“Jesus didn’t teach hate. He washed feet. He gets us. All of us,” the first ad read after showcasing images of people washing feet.
Foot washing is a symbolic act often associated with humility, service, and purification in various religious traditions, particularly Christianity
The images included a police officer washing a man’s feet, a woman, seemingly part of an anti-abortion protest, washing a girl’s feet outside of a family-planning clinic, and a woman washing another woman’s feet as protesters surround them, as per HuffPost.
The main purpose of family-planning services is to encourage parents to make responsible decisions about pregnancy that take the best interests of the family into account, Britannica notes.
In contrast to last year’s ads, the new He Gets Us commercials burst with vibrant colors and employed a still-life aesthetic reminiscent of timeless gallery portraits.
The first of the two ads, titled Foot Washing, aired during the game’s first quarter, and the second was titled Who is My Neighbor?
Both ads, part of the same campaign run by a newly formed nonprofit called Come Near, are estimated to cost $17.5 million, according to AdWeek.
Jon Lee, brand leadership principal at Lerma, the creator of the campaign, told AdWeek: “In this year where we have an epidemic of loneliness and very divisive culture, we wanted everyone to see themselves in these ads.
You can watch the He Gets Us ads below:
Image credits: He Gets Us
In today’s nonchalant era, folks predictably turned the ads into memes
“We wanted to find a way to relate with different social tensions in this moment and imagine a world where people who might not see eye to eye serve one another, love one another, and wash each other’s feet.”
Nevertheless, because we live in an era where nobody takes anything seriously anymore, naturally, people took to social media to poke fun at the controversial toe-curling campaign.