Taking a cue from the United Methodists and other media-savvy denominations, the United Church of Christ will spend $1.3 million for a trial television ad campaign in six metropolitan areas through Easter in hopes of gaining some visibility.
The UCC’s name-recognition has been “negligible at best,” says Gotham, Inc., a New York marketing firm that offered its services at cost to the 1.3-million-member mainline denomination. The firm found that only a few people in focus groups said they knew something about the church—and, as it turned out, they really were referring to the solidly conservative Churches of Christ, a decentralized fellowship whose congregations use “Church of Christ” in their names.
Both church traditions honor congregational autonomy, but the resemblance ends there. The Cleveland-based UCC has been an active member in liberal, ecumenical causes and has emphasized racial and gender inclusiveness.