"Are we prepared to promote conditions in which the living contact with God can be reestablished? For our lives today have become godless to the point of complete vacuity. God is no longer with us in the conscious sense of the word. He is denied, ignored, excluded from every claim to have a part in our daily life." - Alfred Delp, S.J.
Monday, December 06, 2010
Marketing trends: The use of religious symbols to sell products.
I noticed on another blog mention of 'the use of religious symbols to sell products' in a post featuring a popular soft drink ad, as if it was some sort of new trend. I don't think it is. Silent monks were often used to sell products from Beano to Cappuccino hot drink mixes - and of course nuns in habit were always a good sell for fast food establishments selling fish sandwiches on Fridays in Lent.
I get the 'watch' for anti-Catholic/anti-religious ads. I'm not always so sure the ads are deliberately intended to alienate religious people however - especially when it involves mass marketing and high profits from a popular product. I honesty think some of the irreverence is cultural, the result of de-Christianized, secularized cultural attitudes in a manic-consumer driven society. Many people in marketing have no idea what goes on in a church, much less understand what is so special about 'holy' stuff. These are post-Christian times we live in folks.
I'm not defending this stuff, I'm just saying not everything is deliberately anti-Catholic - a lot of it is just stupidity, bad manners and bad taste. Christians have also been known to exploit icons and tasteless religious kitsch to market themselves... some even engage in multiple product placement on their blogs to increase their profits.
As a side note, what I have noticed about Christmas ads this year is that most of them are in your face, hard sell, bargain ads - buy, buy, buy. I have yet to see a really good institutional ad meant to arouse emotions and foster a feel-good holiday mood. It seems to me Americans - religious or not - are more consumer driven than ever - in the middle of such a severe economic downturn no less. Looks like greed to me.