‘The Chosen’ TV Show Producers Explain ‘Evil’ Marketing Campaign

Last April, the producers of “The Chosen,” the popular faith-based series about the life of Jesus Christ, launched an unconventional new marketing campaign featuring the Prince of Darkness.

They first advertised the show using billboards in cities across the country, then made the billboards appear defaced with words such as “The Chosen is boring” and ” Chosensux.com”. The ‘graffiti’ directing people to a website called ‘The Chosen One is No Good’.

The URL also led people to an advertisement, made by ‘The Chosen’, depicting a character of Satan in hell with his demons as they plotted to get people to stop watching the show due to its positive impact. .

Main objective of the campaign: to gain new spectators.

Almost six months later, is the campaign working? The answer is yes, said Jeremiah Smith, vice president of “The Chosen.”

“The campaign has been a great success by any measure,” Smith said. “When we set out to do this, we were trying to reach an audience of people who just wouldn’t watch ‘The Chosen’ unless there was some kind of impetus to do so.”

Brad Pelo, executive producer and president of “The Chosen,” speaks with the media at Salvation Army Camp Hoblitzelle in Midlothian, Texas, Monday, August 15, 2022.

Ben B. Braun, Deseret News

The good news was echoed by Brad Pelo, the show’s president and executive producer.

“We have a lot of anecdotal comments from people who have said, ‘I never would have watched your show if I hadn’t seen those ads, because I’ve never seen a Christian show that’s willing to make fun of it- even,” Pelo said. “I think it’s that epiphany for some — if they feel safe enough to laugh at themselves, then maybe it’s safe enough to watch.”

Smith told of a woman who had never heard of “The Chosen” but became interested in it after seeing an advertisement telling her not to watch it. “So of course I had to,” she wrote on the show.

“It’s anecdotal, but that’s what we did the campaign for,” Smith said. “There’s a certain group of people who would like the show if they just gave it the time of day, but for different reasons they might be cynical about faith-based media, especially about a show by Jesus, because they think, ‘Oh, I’ve seen that before. That was the intent of the campaign.

Initially, some of the core fans felt duped by the defaced billboards and there was some backlash from fans who thought it was a bad idea. Creator Dallas Jenkins has issued an apology.

“We’ve actually had people say, ‘Thanks for the apology, the campaign is great, now that we get it,'” Smith said. “Honestly since then it’s only been positive. You’ll get the occasional person who might not get it, and that’s OK. It’s not for them. But for the people we hope it’s for. like it, it definitely is.

Months later, the campaign continued with Satan character “The Chosen” posted weekly on social media as if he was just another online influencer.

Jeremiah Smith, Vice President of Creative for

Jeremiah Smith, vice president of creative for “The Chosen,” speaks with the media at The Salvation Army’s Camp Hoblitzelle in Midlothian, Texas, Monday, August 15, 2022.

Ben B. Braun, Deseret News

How the campaign was developed

“The Chosen” team developed the “evil” campaign with distribution partner Angel Studios, Pelo said.

“There were several explorations,” Pelo said. “Who do we have to blame? The devil makes a great victim for us. The team creatively came up with the concept – what if the devil was basically a budding social media influencer trying to get everyone off to watch “The Chosen”? »

In one of the videos, Satan enlists the help of three influencers — a blogging mom, a video gamer/streamer, and a toy-opening child — to help him hobble and hamper “The Chosen.”

“His interaction with them spirals out of control from there and creates all sorts of fun options,” Smith said.

“The Chosen” is Not Good campaign in numbers

The fake devil has developed the following social network:

9 videos from “The Chosen” is Not Good campaign

The campaign continued with an ongoing series of videos where the witty devil tries to come up with ideas to outsmart the series. Most go horribly wrong.

“That’s the joke,” Smith said. “No matter what he does, people keep watching ‘The Chosen.’ We really wanted to use that bit of disruptive irreverence to get people to say, “Hey, what’s that?” and go further.

Here are nine videos from “The Chosen is Not Good” marketing campaign.

1. The first video: “Stop watching ‘The Chosen’…It’s not good.”

2. “The devil reacts to a sight of Jesus”

3. “I’m leveling up” (The video features Natalie Madsen, a former cast member of BYUtv’s popular comedy sketch show, “Studio C” and now with JK! Studios.)

4. “I broke into Angel Studios and stole ‘The Chosen'”

5. “All the Places You Shouldn’t Watch ‘The Chosen'”

6. “Mislipreading of ‘The Chosen'”

7. “The devil reacts to an ecologically irresponsible miracle”

8. “iPhone 13 unboxing with the devil”

9. “The #1 reason NOT to watch ‘The Chosen'”

Learn more about the ad campaign at thechosenisnotgood.com.

William L. Hart