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We are exposed to advertising every day, but most of us don’t focus much on it. A Texas pastor asked his congregation to listen to the messages being offered during one of the most-watched television events of the year and ask themselves, “What are those million dollar commercials really saying?” Reed Galin reports.              

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(Locator: Grapevine, Texas)

Pastor Ken Diehm (deem) gave members of his United Methodist church near Dallas an assignment he didn’t want them to fumble…

(Audience cheering, watching football game)

… watch the Super Bowl and pay particular attention to the commercials.

Commercial: “It’s the beard comb over, isn’t it? Yeah.”

Church Member: “It’s a funny commercial, talking about how we judge one another by our appearance.”

The Rev. Ken Diehm/Pastor, First United Methodist Church, Grapevine: “I think the Super Bowl’s a cultural event in our society. And so, I think it provides the church an opportunity to comment on what is going on in that culture.”

Jennifer Tidmore/Member, First United Methodist Church: “Some of the commercials were rather racy this year. One of the ones that I particularly didn’t care for, the message that was behind it, I was hoping that my sons weren’t watching the same commercial.”

Diehm says there’s sometimes a conflict between messages in the ads and the messages he tries to send from the pulpit.

Commercial: “Something new to crave…presenting the all new CRV.”

Chris Thompson: “He had a message about how you judge people based on their car. And I hadn’t really thought about that until he said it.”

Church members say watching all the flashy marketing and adult references helped them appreciate the positive messages.

The Rev. Ken Diehm/ Pastor, First United Methodist Church: “The Frito-Lay commercial, it’s about Black History Month and about celebrating the moment. And celebrating, I think, the moment that two black coaches were coaching the Super Bowl. And I’m going to talk for a few minutes about how we struggle to look past skin color.”

The Super Bowl only comes once a year, but these viewers will remember this exercise each time they reach for the remote.

William Tohlen/13-year-old: “I’ll remember the commercials forever and see, like, the underlying meaning and stuff. And I’ll look at commercials in a new way.”

Some participants say the exercise has made them more aware of how much television their families are watching and the messages young viewers are receiving. Pastor Diehm says he has been doing the Super Bowl sermon for eight years now, and it is always well received.

For more information, you can contact First United Methodist Church of Grapevine at
817-481-2559 or go to their Web site.