The success of three “Bible bobbleheads” has led to the release of three more bobbers based on biblical characters.
John the Baptist, Esther and Daniel bobbleheads are the newest creations from Isaac Bros., the Allen, Texas-based company that produced the popular Moses, Samson and Noah bobbers in 2002.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” />
The new bobbleheads will begin shipping in mid-February, though customers may pre-order now at the Isaac Bros. Web site.
The bobbleheads are part of what Isaac Bros. calls the “Great Heroes of Faith” collection. All the bobbleheads are comic in appearance (Daniel, for example, is crafted sweating and praying as lions surround him), but the faith behind them is serious.
“In no way do we want to leave the false impression that we are making fun of these great heroes of faith,” reads the Isaac Bros. Web site. “In fact, our intent is to create an even greater hunger and desire to go to God’s Word and learn more about these imperfect people used by a perfect God.”
The new bobbleheads, like the older ones, cost $14.99 individually or $39.99 for the set of three.
The new set includes the first New Testament character—John the Baptist, portrayed with honey and a locust at his feet—as well as the first female—Esther.
Isaac Bros. and Bible Bobblehead co-founder Dan Foote said the decision to portray Esther was more spiritual than financial.
“We definitely wanted to celebrate these female heroes,” Foote said, “because there’s a lot of female heroes in Scripture, too.” He added that when the company developed a shortlist of about 28 biblical characters that might eventually become bobbers, Esther was near the top.
The original Bible bobbleheads were a hit last summer at “faith nights” for the minor league Nashville Sounds. On three separate nights, the franchise gave away one of the bobbleheads to the first 2,000 fans.
“Attendance on bobblehead nights was about 4,500 to 5,000 more than our season average,” said Brent High, a programming coordinator for the Sounds. High said part of the increase was due to faith nights in general (non-bobblehead faith nights still saw about 3,500 more fans), but the bobbleheads were a huge draw.
High said finding a sponsor for the giveaway was crucial, and the franchise found a willing partner in Donelson Air Conditioning, which sponsored all three bobblehead giveaways.
“We felt that Brent had had a good idea to hit a specific target market, and it was a market that Donelson Air Conditioning was interested in,” said Dean Fulton, Donelson’s general manager. “Being in the Bible Belt, the area it was hitting was a large target market for our company.”
Donelson put placards indicating its sponsorship on the bottom of the bobbleheads, and company employees attended the game to distribute the bobbleheads and other company merchandise.
“It certainly got a tremendous amount of exposure,” <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />Fulton told EthicsDaily.com. He added that Donelson is discussing the possibility of another round of bobblehead sponsorship this summer.
High said the Sounds will definitely do another giveaway.
“We’re going to do at least three and possibly more depending on sponsor involvement and so forth,” he said.
High said the bobblehead craze at the ballpark was part of a larger phenomenon of Christian culture making secular inroads. He pointed to the success of “The Passion of the Christ,” Rick Warren’s The Purpose-Driven Life, and the Christian rock band Switchfoot.
And the bobbleheads are just getting going, he said.
“We’re already seeing other teams across the nation that are now catching on,” High said. “It would not be shocking to me if you saw this popping up in 20 to 30 new cities this year.”
Foote said the Huntsville Flight semi-pro basketball team has already ordered the bobbers for a giveaway, and that numerous other sports franchises have inquired about pricing.
Cliff Vaughn is culture editor for EthicsDaily.com.
The Isaac Bros. Web site is www.isaacbros.com.
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