The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is going big in the Big Apple.
The church launched a new phase of its "I'm a Mormon" campaign in New York City this week. The campaign includes a large electronic billboard in Times Square, a block from where the satirical Tony-Award winning musical "The Book of Mormon" is showing.
The church is also putting advertisements on top of cabs, inside cabs and inside subways.
"When my mission president announced the campaign last week there were actual cheers by the missionaries," said Elder Aldridge, an LDS missionary in New York City. "We're pretty pumped and definitely excited about the campaign," added his companion, Elder Kinikini.
Even before these new advertisements, publicity intended primarily to promote "The Book of Mormon" musical boosted missionary efforts. "We go to one neighborhood and people recognize us more and say, 'There's the missionary poster guy! Didn't they make a musical about you?'"
The elders also reported that missionaries are seeing the first signs of the campaign. One of their colleagues saw an "I'm a Mormon" ad on top of a cab just yesterday.
Of course, the campaign is not exclusive to New York City.
"The 'I'm a Mormon' campaign was tested in nine U.S. markets last year and is being expanded to additional areas," LDS Church spokesperson Scott Trotter said. "We included New York City in this round because of conversations about the church happening there."
Presumably these conversations involve both "The Book of Mormon" musical and the media flurry around the two Mormons seeking the Republican presidential nomination, Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman Jr.
Huntsman essentially made his candidacy official Tuesday. Serendipitously he broke the news while visiting Times Square in New York City—just a stone's throw away from the ominous poster reading "I'm a Mormon." Huntsman said he will make a formal announcement June 21 in New Jersey.
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