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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Mormon Like Me or One of Us?

While CL's "Jeopardy!" loving Gwynedd Stuart already posted about this topic a while back, the wave of I'm a Mormon advertising bombarding Atanta's televisions and billboards warrants a repeat visit if only to showcase its cagy effectiveness.

Gwynedd said it best about this clip: "Seriously, one second you think you're watching a commercial for ITT Tech, then all of a sudden you're dick-deep in a sales pitch."

Some have speculated that this campaign which focuses on Atlanta and 11 other cities—including Phoenix, Denver, Spokane, Seattle, San Antonio, Omaha, Lincoln, Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, and South Bend—is a backdoor political endorsement for Mitt Romney, though LDS officials deny this.

In a piece about the campaign, NPR's Corey Dade noted, "The ads are scheduled to run until spring 2012, by which time the Republican primaries could be reaching a climax."

What is interesting is the combination of the method and the messaging.

"The idea," according to LDS spokesman Dale Jones "is to get people to see who we are, rather than who people say we are."

If that's the case, why the "bait and switch?"

Despite the efforts to make the subjects vibrant and dynamic, the feeling I get from watching the spots is closer to this:

See what Rose Yvette Dall, the artist, says about motherhood and her career:

If the point is supposed to be that "Mormons are just like you and me," how can you not come away a little bit with the feeling that they doth protest too much. In other words, they are saying, these people are "normal," they do "normal" things, they seem reasonable, and hip, and cool right? So, obviously their faith is also "normal." It's totally in line with your values.

To those inclined to call Mormons a "cult" or "not Christian" or to panic at the thought of Mormons at their gates...

...the message from this campaign is also clear:

They're already here. And they look just like you and me.

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