Otterson_michaellPublic Affairs Director for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Michael Otterson, writes regularly in The Washington Post’s On Faith Blog. This week he tells why the I’m a Mormon ad spots have become so popular.

There is a TV educational campaign running in a dozen cities across the United States called “I’m a Mormon,” and it’s creating a lot of buzz.

If you are unfamiliar with it, take a few seconds before you go any further to meet Mehrsa, Lorin, Sherryl, Erick or dozens more like them.

The first time I saw a Mormon-produced television spot was in the mid-1970s. Many will still remember it. The shot opens with the camera tight on a middle-aged man, buried in an armchair and absorbed in his TV football. Outside the window behind him waits his son, baseball and mitt in hand. An off-camera voice asks:

“Remember last week when you said next week you’d spend more time with your kids?”

The man glances toward the camera with a half smile and a grunt of recollection. Pause.

Then the off-camera voice says simply: “It’s next week.”

These spots became very popular, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints made dozens of them, winning a trophy room full of broadcasting awards in the process. The theme was family life, and they worked because they were real. Every parent could identify with the no-no things we all do when raising our kids and grandkids. The idea was to encourage the grown-ups in the family to do a little better at the most difficult task any of us will ever have – to steer our kids successfully into life by raising them in a home where love, values and boundaries are in the right proportions and expressed in the right way.

Read the article at The Washington Post here.