A producer for The Ellen DeGeneres Show has contacted the UCC's communications director, asking for more information about the UCC's campaign to get the popular TV personality to attend the denomination's national General Synod, July 1-5, in Tampa, Fla.
"Evidently, it was a news report in Tampa about our campaign that finally got through to Ellen and her staff," said the Rev. J. Bennett Guess. "We were contacted by one of Ellen's producers and asked to submit more information about our request of her."
After telling the producer about General Synod and why the UCC's planning committee thinks Ellen should address the UCC, Guess received a written response: "I just wanted to let you know I passed your information and request along to our executives. Our staff here deals with the show, but Ellen's life outside the show, including appearances, is handled by a different team. I know they are aware of your request and hopefully will be in touch with you."
|NCNC UCC FYE 2010 Present "Get Ellen to Synod"|
"I at least feel good knowing that, at this phase, Ellen is aware of our campaign," Guess says, "but we're going to have to significantly ramp up our grassroots effort if we're going to make it impossible for Ellen to ignore our invitation. But if Betty White's fans can get her to host SNL, we can convince Ellen DeGeneres to come to Tampa."
Tampa's major league baseball team, the Tampa Bay Rays, may be lending a hand to the UCC's efforts as well. Guess said he was contacted recently by a team representative who expressed interest in having DeGeneres toss the first pitch at a game when she comes to Synod.
"Getting the whole city of Tampa involved could really give our invitation a boost as well as ensure that the region won't miss the fact that the UCC is coming to Florida," Guess says.
One of the most effective methods of generating publicity, Guess says, is for local churches to initiate contact with the local TV station that airs The Ellen DeGeneres Show and to demonstrate how your local church is active in the national campaign.
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"By creating a fun video and letting your local affiliate know about it, you are not only advancing the campaign but attracting attention for the UCC in general," Guess says. "Don't forget that your appropriate network TV station has a vested interest in promoting Ellen's show, so take advantage of that."
A "Get Ellen to Synod" Facebook page now has more than 6,000 fans.
Learn more about the UCC's Get Ellen to Synod campaign, including tools for getting involved, at http://www.ucc.org/get-ellen-to-synod/