Creation of the Week #40 Glass Canvas' Anthem Philly Rebrand

There have not been many moments in my life where my jaw has literally dropped in amazement after perusing a Catholic ministry's website.  Last week when Anthem Philly went live, I stared at my screen for at least 4:33 seconds in disbelief.

These were the thoughts that ran through my mind when I saw this:

"This is Catholic?! THERE'S NO WAY!"

"When is my Diocese going to let me do something like this?"

"Who did this?... of course. Glass Canvas. Of course it was."

"I can not believe Bishop Chaput let them do this!"

Then I looked at the blog titles and my jaw dropped even further. At this point, I'm pretty sure I could have swallowed my desktop whole.

"I don't have my {poop emoji} together?" EDGY, Anthem Philly, edgy. Did you think I would fall for that click bait? DID YOU?
Well. I did. And I read the whole thing, which I NEVER do.

As you can tell, I think this brand the good people at Anthem Philly have adopted is freaking fantastic and puts every other diocesan rebrand I've ever seen to shame. Let me tell you two reasons why:

1. Clarity

They've clearly defined what their mission is, and who it's to.  At least 75% of the effort in my ministry when I was a youth minister was wasted because of a lack of clarity. I don't think it's just conjecture to say that most other ministries suffer from the same thing. We have bake sales that take a week to prep and raise $80, we have 3 retreats a year, a mission trip, Steubenville Conferences and DCYC's, small group ministries, discipleship programs....etc. We try to reach out to parents, to young adult core members, to punks, gangsters, bro's, and homeschooled Catholics and every other category of kid. I learned the hard way: when we try to make our ministries relevant to everyone, instead we make them relevant to no one. 

Generally, I've found that the more responsibility an organization has, the less clarity it operates with. Diocesan ministries, then, are some of the worst offenders in this category. They often don't know if they are trying to minister to the ministers or directly to the youth themselves. They don't know if they should fade into the background or lead the charge, going back and forth between the two.

Anthem Philly, on the other hand, knows EXACTLY who they are trying to reach.
Check out their brand manifesto.

Anthem Philly is calling young people back into belonging in the Church. That means they need to brand themselves in a way that they will be seriously considered by those who do NOT feel they belong in the Church. In doing so, Anthem is waving the banner for the whole Diocese, giving vision and setting the example for all of them.

I also love the language they use on their about page:
"It’s our passion to see youth ministers killin’ it in their roles serving the youth in Philly. We provide training and support to make sure they get the encouragement and backup they need."

Youth & Young Adult ministers are not known for being buttoned up professorial types. It usually takes someone who is pretty rough around the edges to dive into ministry. This site isn't speaking some political diocesan jargon or high-minded systematic theology. They are speaking the down to earth, rough around the edges language that youth & young adult ministers ACTUALLY USE. The tone so many ministers get from their Diocesan office says: "We're here to tell you what to do." In using this language and brand, Anthem Philly is saying: "We love you, we get you, and we want to help."

2. Raw, authentic outreach.

All too often, in ministry, we hide our true selves behind teaching, behind scripture, behind everyone else's story but our own for fear of being vulnerable or "making the ministry about us." It's the absolute worst thing we could ever do. Used car salesmen do the same thing. They'll tell you everything there is to know about that car they're trying to sell you. They'll tell you about how awesome you'll feel driving this model and sing its praises to high heaven. Have they ever driven it themselves? No. Would they ever buy it themselves? Hell no.

Jesus came and testified to the one who had sent him. Then he sent his disciples to do the same thing. We were sent to bear witness to Him who we know personally, not sell young people a set of doctrines that will make their lives better. In an age that is increasingly cynical about religion, the only chance we have to the younger generations is to speak to them from personal experience, to witness to the God who saved us from our own desperate struggle. 

This is why Anthem's brand is so amazing. It's gritty, It's real, and It's going to speak deeply to the audience they've targeted. 

Bravo, Anthem Philly. Good work. We hope many more Dioceses will notice and follow suit. 

By Marcellino D'Ambrosio

CoFounder of Catholic Creatives
Creative Director of Sherwood Fellows