Recently, I’ve noticed an uptick in Christian themes – especially in the business and entertainment worlds. It reminds me of the 90’s when WWJD (What Would Jesus Do), Touched By An Angel (1994), and Chicken Soup For The Soul (1997) were all amazingly popular. I remember talking to clients about this development but they either did not “get” this trend or they weren’t interested. All except Fox!! They not only “got” it, they invested, establishing the FoxFaith brand which was extremely successful through the 2000’s with independent Christian-themed films and videos targeting evangelical Christians.
And now in 2017, this same Christian trend is emerging again – at perhaps an even more ultra-liberal time. On my Texas trip in October, we visited Waco to see Joanna and Chip Gaines’ Magnolia Market at the Silos. We had to go on Saturday because everything is shut tight on Sundays for church. The Gaines’ also announced at that time, that they were ending their popular HGTV show, Fixer Upper in order to concentrate more on their faith. Read more about them and the influence of the Billy Graham Evangelist Association, here.
While in Texas, we also stumbled upon the Melissa Benge Collection. This cool store is owned by a devout Christian who is not shy about asking for – and accepting – Prayer Requests on the store’s website.
Read on below for how mainstream Hollywood is attempting to connect with the 90 million evangelicals in this country thru specific PR efforts and “influencers.” Also check out the launch of Light TV, a faith-focused digital venture from Roma Downey and Mark Burnett in partnership with MGM and Fox Television.
- My friend, Kevin Goetz, the chief executive of the movie research company Screen Engine/ASI, recently initiated a proprietary Faith Tracker monitoring moviegoing and helping studios understand if their faith-based advertising and PR are connecting.
- He has also developed a 1,000-member “influencer” panel of pastors who view unfinished films online, offer feedback and help filmmakers shape and market those movies.
- Everyone should check out Wit PR. They are doing a phenomenal job for Fox in this area. For example, for “The Revenant” (a bloody revenge thriller) Wit PR emphasized themes of man’s inhumanity toward his fellow man and honor versus greed. The R-rated movie collected $533 million worldwide for Fox.
- For more on how Hollywood is courting the faithful, check out this NY Times link here.
- MGM with Fox Television Stations recently launched Light TV, a faith and family-oriented digital channel created by Roma Downey’s LightWorkers Media. It is available in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. FYI: Roma Downey starred in Touched By An Angel.
- Downey’s LightWorkers Media in conjunction with Mark Burnett’s One Three Media was acquired by MGM two years ago. (Burnett is married to Downey.) They have been looking to launch a faith-focused digital venture for some time.
- “This is the beginning of our new, multi-platform faith and family network. As we have already seen from the success of ‘The Bible’ series and our 20 million social followers this audience is looking for inspiring and uplifting programming that they can watch in a trusted and safe environment on any platform,” Downey said.