The Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn has unveiled a new ad campaign which describes Jesus as the “original hipster” in a bid to attract new parishioners.
Since the launch of the campaign, traffic on the diocese's website has gone up 400 percent.
One of the ads which are placed around Brooklyn on bus-stops and phone booths shows Christ in a red robe wearing Chuck Taylor sneakers, calling him “The original hipster.”
In a news release, the diocese refers to Seth Meyers' joke on “Saturday Night Live” that Converse sneakers are why more Catholics are returning to the church.
The statement says the marketing campaign is “showing a cooler and more welcoming side of the Catholic Church.”
“We're called to go where the people are...to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ where people are, be that a bar, gym, restaurant, or what have you,” Monsignor Kieran Harrington, vicar for communications at the Brooklyn diocese and campaign creator, told the Catholic New Agency.
“Jesus appears (in these ads) like people of the L train,” he said. “What is a hipster anyway? Someone who stands against the (mainstream) culture. Jesus stood against the culture.”
Another ad posted by the Brooklyn diocese features a photo of a treadmill and is placed in gyms with the caption: “Tired of running in place? Attend Mass.”
On display in bars and restaurants another ad man who looks worse for the wear that asks “Should I get a new habit?”
“There's a lot of noise in Brooklyn, lots of people competing for attention,” he said. “You have to cut through the noise, and this ad campaign was meant to do that.”
Harrington said the idea for the ad campaign came from a discussion about making people aware there are a variety of different faces who attend the church.