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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

"I'm a Mormon" Comes to the UK ... Big-Time

by ldsbishop (bio)

The Book of Mormon musical opened in the West End of London last month. Back in September 2012, the musical started a clever advertising campaign in the city, advertising on London buses, the London underground and taking the front page of the Evening Standard (below), all based around the tagline "The Mormons are Coming."

Since the musical held its opening night, it has gone on to break box-office records and looks set to continue the success first seen on Broadway.

As expected, the response from the church to enquiries from the British press has been muted. The church once again published its dignified response first given in New York and has been quiet ever since. However, missionaries serving in London keep being stopped in the street and on public transport and asked if they are part of the musical. I believe the standard response is, "No, but here's a copy of the book." Now, missionaries in London and elsewhere have started ordering extra copies because they can't keep up with the demand.

In special training held throughout the UK last month, British Mormons were told how the musical in London provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to educate the British public about who we are and what we believe. To help with this, the church has just launched, much like but more UK-focused and including more video profiles of members from the UK and Ireland.

To help drive traffic to the new site, starting this month (April 2013) the church will launch an unprecedented advertising campaign across the Internet and social media (the busiest UK websites will be targeted). As well as this, the church is also going to lay on a huge, HUGE advertising campaign in London. These ads will appear from 8th April and run for 4 weeks. Some pictures showing how these adverts will look are shown below:

Oxford Circus Underground
Charing Cross station
London Bus
Images © 2013 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. See more here

All of this advertising is unprecedented for a church with only 180,000 members in the whole country. For example, some 1/4 million people will pass through Oxford Circus underground station every day and see these adverts.

When the musical started its advertising in London last year, hits to church websites from the UK have increased by a factor of 10. In my own conversations, I've probably inadvertently persuaded a number of people to buy tickets. I should be on commission.

How effective the advertising the church undertaking will be remains to be seen. One fellow bishop said to me that we'll be shaking the hands of Matt Stone and Trey Parker for the rest of eternity. Indirectly, they've become the best missionaries the church could ever hope for as far making the country aware of us is concerned. Thanks guys. Where are my free tickets?

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