Have you noticed the advertisements on the streets of Williamsburg describing Jesus as the “original hipster?” The ads are part of a campaign The Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn created to attract more people to the church.
While Jesus didn’t wear skinny jeans and drink PBR, Monsignor Kieran Harrington says there are similarities between Jesus and some Brooklyn residents.
“Brooklyn is historically home to folks from all over the world,” Harrington said. “The city is always reinventing itself.”
The campaign was created to let people know that no matter who they are or where they come from they are welcomed to the church, Harrington said.
Harrington went on to say that Jesus Christ is a reflection of his people.
“No one believes Jesus was a blond haired, blue eyed guy,” he said. “Jesus Christ is a reflection of each person.”
In Williamsburg, the ad campaign depicts Jesus as the people who live there – hipsters. In the ad, Jesus dons a robe with dirty red Converse shoes.
“What does it mean to be a hipster?” Harrington asks. “It’s a term that’s hard to define but generally it perceived as standing against, vis a vis culture. It’s a unique kind of person and that’s who Jesus was.”
The campaign, which includes more than just the hipster-Jesus ad, launched on April 1 and the advertisements were put in places with lots of foot traffic such as bus stops, phone booths, bars, restaurants and gyms.
Another advertisement of the campaign shows a man who clearly was out partying all night. The text reads, “Maybe it’s time for a new habit,” urging people to attend Sunday mass.
Another was placed in gym showing a man running on a treadmill. It reads, “Tired of running in place? Attend Mass.”
“When you come to New York City, it can be a tough place,” Harrington said. “It’s exciting but it’s also fast-moving and tough. We just wanted to cut through all that noise and let you know we care about you.”
While the “Original Hipster” ad targets the young folks of Brooklyn, Harrington stresses the fact the campaign is directed to all people.
This is not the first progressive campaign the church as launched. A few years ago the “Soul Wow” campaign urged people to go to confession.
Since the launch of the campaign, Harrington said he’s seen a huge increase in web traffic and that many people are coming up to him to say they saw the ads even on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
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