"The Chosen" movie's billboards appear to have been defaced, but not many know that it was a satirical marketing campaign by the studio to promote the series.

Angel Studios, the production company behind the hit Christian series "The Chosen," has admitted that they were the ones who "defaced" their own billboards in a bid to create a satirical promotion of the series ahead of Easter. Earlier this week, 48 of the 70 billboards of "The Chosen" across America had been vandalized with graffiti, with some featuring funny doodles over faces and a link to the website "chosensux.com."

The Christian Post reported that the website links to an app that runs the series and a link to a YouTube video titled "Stop watching The Chosen... it is not good" by an account named TheChosenIsNotGood. The video, which appears like a sketch, features Satan himself leading a class of young demons, which he lectures about how "The Chosen" is a "high quality series" that he must try to "discredit" and "shut down."

Jeremiah Smith, who leads the creative and marketing for "The Chosen," told CP on Thursday that the defaced billboards and satirical YouTube video were designed to reach those who have not been watching the streaming series. He explained, "We feel like there are a lot of people who have maybe heard about the show, had someone recommend it to them, or just would be interested in who Jesus is, but might not go to church or might not be interested in faith-based media at all."

Smith explained that they wanted to "really aim squarely at that target audience and say, 'Hey, you know, we're a little different. This show is different.'" They did this by creating satirical advertising that would "grab attention."

But the defaced billboards with fake vandalism was not taken lightly by some people, who had a fair amount of confusion. Some even believed it was a real act of vandalism and not a joke. Smith admitted that they "expected" to get some negative feedback, but it was mostly positive, he confirmed.

"They love this show. And so, we have a fan base that's passionate about it. The show is fan-supported," Smith explained. "We knew that some of them, first of all, probably wouldn't understand the joke."

The satirical campaign was so realistic in fact that "The Chosen" director had to issue an apology to fans who were taken aback by such marketing tactics. According to the Christian Headlines, director Dallas Jenkins on Wednesday took to a Facebook livestream to apologize to fans of the show and explain that the campaign targeted people who have never seen the series.

"I genuinely ask for your forgiveness," Jenkins said. "We should have told you from the beginning of what we were planning to do and that the billboards being defaced were ours."

Jenkins explained that it was their "passion" to "reach a billion people with the authentic Jesus" and to do so, they had to "reach new audiences" who he described as "skeptical of the show." The satirical campaign appears to be working however, as Jenkins reported that they are "already seeing a tremendous response from some people who previously were not wanting to watch the show."

"The Chosen" is produced by Angel Studios and premiered in December 2019. It has two seasons with a total of 16 episodes and has garnered about 350 million views.