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United Methodist Advertising Awareness Continues Steady Climb

United Methodist Communications
Office of Public Information
810 12th Ave. S.
Nashville, TN 37203
www.umcpresscenter.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 21, 2007

Contact: Diane Denton
(615) 742-5406 (office)
(615) 483-1765 (cell)

United Methodist Advertising Awareness Continues Steady Climb
Tracking Research Consistently Shows Gains

Nashville: New research indicates that awareness of The United Methodist Church's "Open hearts. Open minds. Open doors." advertising continues to escalate, reaching more "seekers" each year. Thirty percent of those surveyed in 2006 were aware of the campaign, up from 27 percent the previous year and 14 percent in 2001 when the campaign first began.

"The impact of the advertising is that awareness is growing from year to year," said the Rev. Larry Hollon, chief executive of United Methodist Communications. "The research also indicates that our messages continue to be believable and important to the audience-and they are effectively shifting people's attitudes about the denomination in a very favorable way."

The purpose of the campaign is to increase awareness and recognition of The United Methodist Church's basic beliefs and to promote willingness to visit a United Methodist church. The target audience for the campaign is "seekers"-people ages 21-60 who do not currently attend a United Methodist church and are searching for something spiritually.

Each year, United Methodist Communications commissions independent research about the effectiveness of the denomination's "Open hearts. Open minds. Open doors." advertising.

More than 1,200 people from six test markets (Sacramento, Pittsburgh, Des Moines, Roanoke, Springfield, and Tallahassee/Gainesville) were interviewed by the Barna Research Group regarding their impressions of the denomination, their willingness to visit a United Methodist church, and their perception of the "Open hearts" message.

Some of the highlights of the research:

  • Of all respondents surveyed, 37 percent said their impression of The United Methodist Church was very or somewhat favorable
  • Those who had seen the advertising were 47 percent more likely to have a favorable impression of The United Methodist Church than those who had not
  • Nearly half of the target audience-47 percent-expressed willingness to attend a United Methodist church, with 11 percent being very willing
  • Fifty-eight percent of those exposed to the advertising recalled the tagline: "Open hearts. Open minds. Open doors."
  • Seventeen percent of respondents said they would definitely or probably visit a United Methodist Church in the next three months

The survey also looked at ten different statements about United Methodists to measure respondents' perceptions of the denomination. Slightly more than half of those surveyed agreed with the top five perceptions: that United Methodists care for and support each other, that they accept people from different walks, they would accept you for who you are, they help people in the community, and care about justice and peace for all people.