Another Super Bowl, Another Ad for Jesus

An ad on the Super Bowl showing people washing each other’s feet, what a crazy thing to do — alert the morality police.

Sheldon Clay
ILLUMINATION
Published in
4 min readFeb 17, 2024

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Photo by Phillip Goldsberry on Unsplash

I’m a creative guy at a big ad agency, so this is the time of year when my friends ask me which Super Bowl ad I liked best. Which expensive production trick. Which celebrity cameo. Which bit of over-the-top humor.

My answer this year was the same as last year. A relatively low-budget, low-glitz ad for Jesus.

The production team didn’t even fire up a motion camera to create the ad. It’s just a series of nicely art-directed still photos showing unlikely pairings, a cop and a young Black man, an environmentalist and an oil company guy, for example. One is always washing the other’s feet, a replay of the scene at the Last Supper when Jesus washed the feet of his disciples in an act of love and striking humility. An emotional cover of an old INXS song plays in the background, building up to the lyric, “They could never tear us apart.” Then the pay-off comes in a couple of titles. “Jesus didn’t teach hate. He washed feet.” The ad’s sponsor is a well-funded organization named He Gets Us.

The ad is disquietingly quiet, and that’s what appealed to me as a creative guy. In an event that’s all about spectacle and…

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Sheldon Clay
ILLUMINATION

Writer. Observer of mass culture, communications and creativity.