The growing evidence of harm caused by pornography calls for interventions to counteract the influence of explicit sexual media. Fireproof Ministries conducts a major Christian anti-pornography campaign called XXXchurch. This case analysis of the campaign evaluated if the messages were appropriately designed in light of what persuasion research has discovered about motivating attitudinal and behavioral change. Theories about agenda setting, attitude accessibility, exemplars, evidence, cognitive dissonance, guilt, reactance, fear appeals, and self-efficacy were the basis of identifying the themes of the campaign, evaluating the credibility of XXXchurch, and assessing the theoretical foundation of the campaign. The study found three dominant objectives of the campaign: awareness, prevention, and recovery. XXXchurch has set the pornography agenda in many Christian churches, and also brings the issue to a wider public through news media; they have been featured in thousands of media publications and broadcasts. XXXchurch measures their own success by the stories and feedback they hear from their audience, the media attention they receive, and their increased acceptance by churches. The three main groups of themes in the messages of the campaign are prevention and recovery, the harm of pornography, and how God's purposes for life are impacted by pornography. These themes are essentially persuasive messages encouraging people to consider the negative consequence of using pornography and the benefits of resisting it. The attitudes influenced through these messages are the precursors to taking action to overcome pornography. The XXXchurch campaign establishes credibility with their audience through six elements: (a) prior experience or perceptions, (b) credentials, competence, and expertise (c) honesty and lack of bias, (d) similarity to the audience, (e) bold, confident delivery, and (f) plausible messages. Examples of self-efficacy, exemplars, and fear appeals were the most frequently found theories in the campaign messages. Persuasion theories functioned as useful tools for analyzing and understanding the campaign. Although the XXXchurch team did not design the campaign with these theories in mind, the theories strongly explain the foundation of the campaign. Taken as a whole, the campaign clearly demonstrates research-based principles, which suggest a prediction of successfully influencing attitudes and behavior.
College and Department
Fine Arts and Communications; Communications
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Davis, Vauna L., "We Need to Talk: Persuasive Communication in Fireproof Ministries' XXXchurch Anti-Pornography Campaign" (2012). Theses and Dissertations. 3247.
anti-pornography, information and influence campaigns, persuasive communication, strategic communication