How to Use Cultural Conversations to Reach People

How to Use Cultural Conversations to Reach People

A Case Study of BOOST Radio

Eric Hungerford | September 10, 2020 | branding Creativity featured marketing

Can Christians Do That?

I had heard my friend describe the radio ad. It was almost unbelievable. Can a Christ-centered radio station do that? They must have made a lot of Christians mad by airing that ad on their station. Not that I was offended. I was proud of them for it.

I could hardly believe it. But then, I heard it for myself. It came through my own speakers:

Narrator: “You shouldn’t have to choose between this…”

[Audio clip of a popular rapper]: “Take ya girl, kidnap her; beat her to my mattress…”

Narrator: “…and this…”

[Audio clip of cringy 70s band “Sonseed”]: “Jesus is my friend…”

The people at BOOST radio are no strangers to pushing the boundaries of what Christians are allowed to say.

I recall a billboard they had put up in St. Louis that read: “BOOST beats the hell outta me.”

They had another idea for a billboard which we helped them create:

The people at BOOST aren’t trying to be edgy just for the sake of being edgy. They’re entering into the cultural conversations of our time to point out the hypocrisy and cognitive dissonance of clashing value systems in our world. Why? To challenge the very ideas that exalt themselves against the knowledge of Christ, and invites people into something better. 

Let’s examine some of the cultural conversations and realities which BOOST is stepping into:

  • “Me too” messages call out the mistreatment of women
  • Anxiety is skyrocketing for young people, and self-care is essential
  • Hip-hop is a raw poetic medium

The Longstanding “Normal”

It’s considered normal in our modern culture to support and accept artists who sing and rap about treating women’s bodies as objects to be owned and abused. I may have just earned myself “hater” status. 

Just a handful of weeks ago, I heard the lyrics of Jay-Z coming through the speakers at the gym. He had a choice word to refer to women in general. Not tucked away in a verse, but blasting on repeat, every time the chorus came around. 

I looked around in that gym. I felt like the only one awake. Why are we okay with this? Worse, why do people like this?

It seems like if we wrap up bad ideas with acceptable packages, we can get away with things we otherwise wouldn’t. What if believers can do the same thing, only flipped? Maybe we can get away with more bold proclamations of the gospel without being immediately rejected, if we use the accepted mediums of our culture.

Am I saying we always need to hide the truth in a package? Not at all. Am I saying that we can do so to help get through to people with the truth? Absolutely.

The hypocrisy is ripe and ready for salt and light. BOOST knows their audience, and knows their medium—radio. Including Hip-hop. Because Hip-hop is a raw poetic medium, believers can use it to share the truth. BOOST enters into the cultural conversation about respecting women, and doesn’t stop there. They bring the hope of Jesus to a generation who needs Him.

Even though I focused this conversation on the more controversial topics, that’s not true for BOOST. They focus most of their energies on building people up, praying for people, and serving their city.

Mental Health

What about anxiety and self-care? BOOST has an opportunity to step directly into that cultural conversation, too. As we designed and built their new website, we also suggested messaging on their homepage that speaks to the felt need of finding peace in a Higher Power, and caring for your mental health. Here’s what we suggested:

Music Changes Us.

You are valuable to God. Your heart and mind are worth caring for. Guard them. BOOST your mindset.

BOOST stuck with this message, and it was no surprise. We invested time into getting to know their voice, heart, and mission. We exercised empathy for the people in their audience—people in our own city. Honestly, we were blessed to work with BOOST. They already had a strong brand. They wanted our help to help them take it to the next level, cut through the noise with head-banging, God-honoring music, and reach people.

What About You?

What cultural conversations are ready for your voice? How will you bring salt and light into a dark world? Who is hurting that needs to take another look at Jesus?

This could be your moment to reach people, and we want to help! Fill out the form at the bottom of this page, and we’ll be in touch to set up a free thirty-minute consultation.