Ministry snapshots -- TRY CHURCH IN BARTLESVILLE
An advertising campaign is raising awareness for Bartlesville-First UMC. It is built upon the tagline "Try church."
"Feeling taxed? Try church." (Appropriate for April)
"Take a break from the madness. Try church." (A nod to March’s college basketball playoffs)
"Looking for direction? Try church." (A Christmas star points the way)
"Looking to connect? Try church." (An online banner ad)
First Church’s Advertising Committee drives the campaign series that uses multiple media platforms.
The purpose is "to change people’s perceptions about church," said committee member Mark Pinkerton, 21. The college student and part-time church staff member is majoring in Strategic Communications.
"These are clever reminders that stick in people’s heads. Seven words is optimum," he explained.
"This is about external communications." Bartlesville-First is developing brand recognition in its community.
The campaign’s appeal is reaching beyond the city, too. "Try Church" earned a 2010 "It Worked for Us" award from the Oklahoma Conference Board of Laity.
First Church budgets $20,000 for advertising, according to Pastor Kevin Tully. He values the committee’s work and its results.
Pinkerton explained the group purchases specific time slots on cable TV networks and rents billboard space in prime locations. "TV ads are fairly cheap on cable in Bartlesville," he said, although that may not be the case in larger markets.
"I think multiple platforms are important. You can’t catch everybody on one."
Bartlesville-First welcomes inquiries about "Try Church" from other United Methodist congregations. "We’re willing to share," Pinkerton said.