Starting September 11, Christ Community Church will begin an eight week series, Future Shock, that will cover the end of the world.* I’ve been involved with various aspects of this series, so I thought I’d pull back the curtain a bit and share what has gone into the advertising, marketing and planning.
*Happy times!

In June, I started developing ideas for Future Shock. One of the first things I did was to come up with some tag lines/ideas that could be used for billboards and other promotional pieces.  I had over 40 ideas jotted down, some of which could be combined. One of my ideas was to utilize a QR code. While at Big Omaha, this past May, What Cheer! created a game that used QR codes. It was fun to play and I thought it was a creative way to use QR codes. I thought a QR code would be perfect tie-in with the series and some of the stereotypes Christians have with the “mark of the Beast”.
Here were some of the other ideas:
  • The end is near…allegedly.
  • Jesus loves you…allegedly.
  • The end is near?
  • Can we really know when the end of the world is? Get the basics and find out.
  • Is there reason for hope? Get the basics and find out.
  • (REM, “It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine.”)
  • Dragons, Demons and Satan…oh my!
  • The beginning of the end.
  • (Some dude wearing a sandwich board with “End Is Nigh”.) This time it’s true.
  • Some Thomas Kinkade like graphic with, “This is not the end of the world.” Then something dark and have “This is.”
  • (Reference movies like Terminator 2, Tombstone, Ghostbusters, and others.)
  • Spoiler alert! This world will end.
  • Get ready for your brand.
  • You don’t want implants that bad.
  • Find out more about whores.
  • It’s more than clouds and harps.
  • See you in Hell? Hope not.
  • Go to church for Hell.
  • Kids, we’re talking about HELL.
  • We’re talking about H-E-double hockey stick.
  • Ready to burn? You’ll be wishing for sixth degree burns.
  • There is no relief.

The tag line I came up with that seemed to resonate with people was, “666? It’s just a number.” The idea behind this was having seen some people freak out whenever they encounter numbers that even remotely connect back to 666. When I was younger, early teen years, I remember going to Flakey Jake’s (now a Fuddrucker’s) to hang out with an individual. I ordered my food, and the cost came out to be $6.66. The person I was with flipped out and said I needed to get something else so my order wouldn’t be $6.66. I wasn’t a bit confused by their response, but I was more of a people pleaser at the time. I ordered a cookie so my order wouldn’t be $6.66.*

*Since then, I’ve thought it would be genius of some fast food joint to make a combination of their items to total $6.66 after tax. There’d be lots of people that would order more once they realized their order was $6.66.

Because of people’s responses to 666, or anything reminiscent of it, I’ve been amused by the number. That’s how I came up with “666? It’s just a number.”

The Communications Team did some great work on their part, as well as Brandon Beed. We contract some work out to Brandon, and he did a fabulous job coming up with the brand for the series.

Here’s the ad on a billboard.

Future Shock billboard.

We knew the line would get people’s attention when they saw it. It would pique people’s interest. There was some question, though, with using “666” and if it was wise. I was asked to do some test marketing on Facebook with it, along with some other tag lines I had written.* “666? It’s just a number.” received almost two to four times the amount of clicks over the other ideas. We stuck with it.

*Someone emailed in during the marketing test and accused us of using scare tactics to get money out of people. When people clicked on the add, all it did was redirect them to our website. There was nothing about money at all. Some just always assume that with the church. The individual closed out the email by saying “As*****”.

On some other promotional pieces we used, “The end is near…allegedly.”

I was also asked to put together a montage video of some clips I’d come across. I’d found a video about people buying bunkers, in the buzz of the (failed) Harold Camping prediction and aftermath of disasters. I’d also come across a video promoting pet care for you after you’ve been raptured. Yes, you read that correctly.

This was one of those videos I wish I had more time to really have some fun with it. However, the summer has been a crazy busy time as I’ve stepped into the role of the Online Campus Pastor. I nixed the ideas of including some of the old rapture videos that students were shown in youth group. I didn’t have time to comb through the footage for clips I wanted. So, I kept it simple and mainly used footage from the bunker and pet care companies.

Here’s the finished product.

Of course, the finished video wasn’t the first run at it. The first cut was a bit more absurd and playful with the concept. The running time was longer. It was probably more amusing to us staff.

The series starts this Sunday at the Old Mill Campus. Because of my new role, I’ve been sitting on Message Team meetings. The meetings where we have gone over this series have been a lot of fun. I think people will like Future Shock.

5 thoughts on “"666? It’s Just A Number." (Advertising the End of the World)

  1. I know, Kris! 🙂 I always throw in a few ridiculous ideas. I didn't post all of them because I didn't want people to think I'm completely off my rocker.

    During the series, Tim Perry's message covers the subject of The Whore of Babylon. It's part of a greater topic of evil, and it should be a great message.

    Mark, we hope to have some more fun stuff tied-in with the series, so stay tuned!


  2. Robert, Great use of the QR code. You correctly updated the mobile web site for the user to view.

    Another idea would have been to create a specific mobile friendly landing page for the code and then update the page every week for the new message and links to the message videos (although only YouTube videos will play on most Smartphones right now, not videos posted on Vimeo).

    Since QR codes are neat new tactics that Smartphone users can scan, I feel that using them taps into an ideal market for this message.


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