When Julia Vogl, a sophomore at Benilde-St. Margaret’s School in St. Louis Park, asked her friends and classmates if they attended Mass, she learned that many of them either didn’t go or went only because their parents forced them.
So when her religion teacher assigned the class to design a multimedia advertising campaign to encourage teens to go to church, Vogl knew the challenge she was facing.
What image or message would appeal to her friends, she wondered as she sat down to work on the assignment.
And then it occurred to her: “My generation is not only one that is heavily interested in entertainment, but it also seems to be one that truly wants to change the world [in] one way or another,” she wrote in an email to The Catholic Spirit explaining her thought process.
The idea of “changing the world” morphed into “saving the world,” which conjured images of superheroes in Vogl’s mind. So she designed a print ad featuring a Batman-like superhero with a cross projected in a night sky.
Her slogan: “Be a Hero. Join the Mission. Go to Mass.”
Vogl also designed radio and TV ads with the same theme.
“What I gathered from this project was that going to Mass isn’t just a way to worship God,” Vogl said in her email. “It’s also a way for you to get connected with him and learn how you yourself can change the world.”
Teacher Alison Frank said she and fellow teacher Joe Pedersen assigned the ad campaign as a way to get students thinking about evangelization.
Students worked alone and in small groups piecing together video, images, music and print to get their message across. Then they presented the campaigns to their classmates.
“We were impressed with the creativity that the students exhibited,” Frank said in an email. “They came up with a lot of different angles to sell the same
One student created a dazzling special effects explosion in his TV ad, she said.
Another group of students Photoshopped an image of Pope Benedict XVI holding up a smart phone with the Twitter logo glowing on the screen. Their slogan played on Twitter’s use of hashtags to designate keywords: “Follow #Christ to Church. He is guaranteed to follow back.”
A common theme that emerged is that the church fills teens’ needs for a sense of belonging, Frank said. “They want to feel accepted, and they want a community to belong to.”