A couple of Sundays ago, Maude and I were enduring the "Pre-Show Entertainment" at a local movie theater, waiting for a 4:20 screening of Sin City to start (Flanders' patented two word review: thumbs down).
This particular movie theater plays local ads before the previews (which now also include advertising). These local spots usually have pretty lousy production values and are typically for real estate agents or local car dealerships.
The final ad before the trailers began was for a local protestant church. It showed people enjoying themselves outside, having a barbeque, laughing with neighbors. At no point did it actually show the church building or the services. My wife whispered to me sarcastically, "Wow, church is like a picnic everyday."
I whispered back, "I don't think people seeing Sin City on a Sunday are really their target market."
Are these ads with their low production values any better than the ads our church puts on TV? Our ads don't actually show the church or services; usually, they are some kind of Hallmark moment with the patented, "brought to you by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" following soon after.
The advertisements that focus on the Book of Mormon are a little better. They seem like they could interest people enough to call the 1-800 number, but they remind me a little too much of Dianetics-by-L-Ron-Hubbard ads. Also, I think it might be misleading to send the missionaries out to people's houses when all they probably want is a free book in the mail.
I am conflicted about these ads. My wife always needles me when they come on, and rightly so. I think we could do better. We need to get the message out, but I'm not sure this is the right way to do it.