Both commercials, which showcased “the love of Jesus,” last year placed in the top 15 of USA TODAY’s 2023 Ad Meter, which ranks commercials by consumer rating.
The first 2024 ad, entitled “Foot Washing” aired during the first quarter of the game. It showed various still images of people – including a woman outside a family planning clinic – having their feet washed and ended with the slogan: “Jesus didn’t teach hate. He washed feet.”
“The thing that’s different about this year is 2024 is a presidential election year, and all of that divisiveness and hostility is amplified in the presidential election,” Jason Vanderground, president of BrandHaven marketing agency, told Crain’s Grand Rapids Business.
“We’re trying to be very intentional to build off of last year’s message and instead of showing people fighting, showing people demonstrating what it looks like to love your neighbor.”
What is ‘He Gets Us’?
The “He Gets Us” website says the ad campaign is a movement not “affiliated with any single individual, political position, church, or faith denomination.”
“He Gets Us” was started by Servant Foundation – but this year is managed by the newly-formed nonprofit Come Near. The nonprofit’s stated goal is “sharing the life and love of Jesus in thought-provoking new ways.”
Vanderground told The Associated Press before the 2023 Super Bowl that “He Gets Us” was “trying to get the message across to people who are spiritually open, but skeptical.”
The “He Gets Us” campaign held a day of service Saturday before the Super Bowl at a Las Vegas community center, featuring a handful of current and former NFL players, distributing groceries and hot meals while the athletes led kids in football drills and games.
As for the organization that initially launched the campaign, Servant Foundation is a Kansas-based nonprofit. The group donated more than $50 million to the Alliance Defending Freedom from 2018-2020. The Southern Poverty Law Center listed the ADF as an anti-LGBTQ hate group in 2016, citing the ADF’s support of criminalizing homosexuality and approval of imprisoning LGBTQ individuals for engaging in consensual sex.
The ADF told USA TODAY in 2023 that it “categorically rejects” this classification by the SPLC, calling it a “deliberate mischaracterization of our work.”
The “He Gets Us” website says “Let us be clear in our opinion. Jesus loves gay people and Jesus loves trans people. The LGBTQ+ community, like all people, is invited to explore the story of Jesus.”
Who funds ‘He Gets Us’?
In 2023, Hobby Lobby founder David Green told right-wing talk show host Glenn Beck that his family was helping fund the Super Bowl 57 ads.
Green and Hobby Lobby won a significant victory in 2014 when the Supreme Court ruled that Hobby Lobby and other “closely held corporations” could continue to deny providing health insurance coverage for some or all forms of birth control based on religious objections. The ruling affected more than 60 million American workers.
Contributing: Gabe Lacques