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In 2005 we revisited our most celebrated campaign, from 1999, where we showed Jesus in the guise of the Latin revolutionary, Che Guevara. This campaign also featured radio ads – click here to hear them. The poster campaign appeared on more than 2,000 poster sites on railway stations and billboards around the UK.

To download the poster, click here!

The poster for 2005 didn’t show baby Jesus gurgling in a crib, watched over by shepherds and kings in the cosiness of a stable. Instead they showed him in eye-grabbing red, and the poster was like a call to revolution. It was about as far from “Away in a manger” as you can get.

Chas Bayfield, who worked on both the 1999 and 2005 campaigns, explains the reason for abandoning the traditional image of baby Jesus in Bethlehem and going for something close to Che Guevara instead.

“We wanted to take Jesus out of the nativity play and portray him as a modern day hero. The poster shows the Christ of Christmas as a baby, but also as the revolutionary he became.”

But most of the revolutionaries of the 20th century used violence to achieve their aims and caused the deaths of millions of people. So why show Jesus in revolutionary red?

Says Chas Bayfield: “His attitudes and behaviour were revolutionary. He treated women with respect. He spent time with thieves, conmen, hookers and the disease-infected underclasses. He was defiant, yet loving. He was an outlaw, seen as a political agitator, a man hunted and hated by the authorities. His revolution was one of love, respect and hope. In everything he did, Christ was a revolutionary. We wanted to contrast Jesus with the revolutionaries of the 20th century, to make people reconsider what makes a person revolutionary.”

This campaign marked a new departure for us, as it had an interactive element. The posters and the radio ads invited a text-message response. People texted us their votes in a series of questions about Jesus, and the text message they received back pointed them to a website where they could see how others had voted. They were also pointed to the rejesus website for more information.

Click here to hear the radio ads.