Targeting Christian bucks: 6-26-09
June 26, 2009
My friend Suzette Martinez Standring, who like me is a former president of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, often writes about religion, and in this column makes an intriguing point: Christians in America are an often-overlooked part of the economy to whom advertisers should be paying more attention. At least she reports that this is the conclusion of a new book.
Hmmm. Should Christians be thought of as an economic "affinity group"? Well, as Suzette notes, the authors of Faith-Based Marketing: The Guide To Reaching 140 Million Christian Customers, think so.
No doubt this makes economic sense to people with stuff to sell. And it may even make sense to Christians who want to be able to find products that they can feel good about buying, products that don't violate their standards, products that can improve the world and so forth.
So why does part of me recoil a bit at being thought of as part of a faith community that marketers want to reach? I think perhaps it's because the faith, at least to me, does not constitute a cog in an economic wheel. Rather, Christianity is about redemption, about joyful living, about service to others, about love.
And I'm hesitant to have marketers exploit those values to improve their bottom line.
Am I being irrational?
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PONDERING CELEBRITY DEATHS
VENTURA, Calif. -- As I rode in a shuttle van here yesterday from the Los Angeles airport, I listened to detailed radio reports of Michael Jackson's death. What a day yesterday was for celebrity deaths -- both Farah Fawcett and Michael Jackson. More proof of death being the great leveler, I guess. And perhaps more proof that celebrity in our culture often comes at a very high price -- at least in Jackson's case, given how much of the news about it focused on all the stress in his life. Some of that stress had to do with religion. Remember a year or two ago when Jackson, once a Jehovah's Witness, was thought to be converting to Islam? Well, I'm at a National Society of Newspaper Columnists conference and won't have time now for getting into the subject of Fawcett and religion or Jackson and religion. But pay some attention to the coverage of both deaths and see what, if anything, is said about that.
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NOTE: Until Tuesday, June 30, my Internet access may be limited and/or sporadic, so a long time may go by before I can publish any comments you leave here. Thanks for your patience. I'll eventually get to them. Bill.
Bill, I was so sad to hear about Farrah Fawcett's death. She was quite the thing when I was in junior high. And, speaking of religious violence, the cult of beauty has had it's own casualties ... when I was in 7th or 8th grade, I learned of a girl somewhere in or near the Kansas City area who had her face damaged by acid. She looked too much like Farrah Fawcett, and she even went and got herself the same feathered hairdo. She was very popular with the boys, and 2 of her classmates got jealous and threw acid at her (they said they were just trying to ruin her hair, not her face).
What's this about Christians not getting marketed to? Maybe secular business owners are just now starting to target us -- but within the Christian community, CHRISTIANS have been marketing to Christians for a long, long time... as in, buy this book or these dvd's, or attend this conference, so you can learn how to be debt-free, or get spiritual or marital healing, or whatever it is you're looking for.
From yesterday -- adamh, what you see as me defending Iggy, I see as simply upholding the truth. I think it interferes with good, honest discussion for you to keep responding to stuff that PEOPLE HAVE NEVER EVEN SAID. And you just did it AGAIN! Cole shared how his daughters's student was talking about killing himself, and she was going through the proper channels to prevent this from happening -- and you responded by talking about how she shouldn't make fun of the boy's religion?!
You do realize professionals who work with children, are legally bound to take threats of suicide seriously, and DO SOMETHING to prevent a suicide, don't you? Where on earth did you get from this that she is making fun of the child?
Posted by: Susan | June 26, 2009 at 01:40 AM
If Christians can be TARGETED then it is only fair for Christians to REFUSE TO DO BUSINESS with individuals who try to smear them.
Note: I am not saying they should not do business with non believers...but I am saying they should REFUSE TO DO BUSINESS with individualas who try to smear them. AFter all, would those individuals have any respect for the Christians concerns?
I think not.
Spread the word.
Posted by: Will Graham | June 26, 2009 at 06:01 AM
The local atheists have developed a thriving blog...no stopping it now!
I wonder why they all come over here when there is so much action of their blog?
Posted by: Will Graham | June 26, 2009 at 06:38 AM
I’m amazed how long people have been buying into the god business. What does this say about people. It is not working, has been proven it doesn’t work and yet people keep buying.
The Grim Reaper is going to get us all whether we are a celebrity or not. Some sooner, some later. Until we understand more about ourselves as a person on this natural planet will we be able to evolve forward.
Steven Pinker - The Genius of Charles Darwin: The Uncut Interviews
Peace For the Sake of Goodness Cole
Posted by: memberofKCFreeThinkers.org | June 26, 2009 at 07:29 AM
"So why does part of me recoil a bit at being thought of as part of a faith community that marketers want to reach? - Rather, Christianity is about redemption, about joyful living, about service to others, about love."
What was Christianity in Jesus' Time? Jesus traveled around the Mid-East, and had a home base, not with his family.
Jesus' Cousin, John the Baptist, a Celibate Male, spent time in the Wilderness. With the Essenes? He baptized Jesus into the Celibate Movement also.
Then Jesus gathered Celibate Jewish Males. Their teachings were Sharing all Resources Equally. No one owned anything.
This Movement did displease the One God Jewish Religion, of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, that believed, in One God Blessing them with Earthly Blessings.
How did this Male Celibate teaching of Equality for Male, Female and Child, become a new Trinity Religion in 300?
The Religion in Egypt and Rome, was a Trinity Religion with Three Persons of Father, Mother, and Son.
The Roman Catholic Religion, taught Jesus was part of One God Head, with Three 'Persons', Father, Son and Holy Spirit. They wrote Creeds to Prove this.
When Christianity become a religion, it taught if you believed in this Trinity Religion, all kinds of Earthly Blessing could be added.
Christians are good targets for Big Business. Like the Jews, the More they get of Earthly Blessings, shows how much God loves them.
Like the Rich Man in the Bible, Religious Humans store up their Blessings in Barns, Houses, Cars, Boats, etc.
This is not what Jesus taught. He taught Equal Sharing of Resources In Common, and Humans not Owning Anything.
Materialism and Capitalism, was not about Jesus' Equal Sharing 'Common'ism Asexual Male Lifestyle.
Posted by: Dolores Lear | June 26, 2009 at 07:38 AM
Bill - Re: Christians as a target demographic. I think it depends upon what is being marketed. If it's cheap plastic crosses and car magnets, I have trouble with it. But if it is free trade coffee and fair-wage food, I wouldn't.
Posted by: Andy B. | June 26, 2009 at 08:39 AM
Cole, I don't get it. Why are you an advocate for "recovering" religionists. As I understand, you have hated religion since you were a kid, even taking jobs on Sunday to avoid church.
Whats the deal?
Posted by: adam harrison | June 26, 2009 at 08:57 AM
AdamH/Will Graham - "the incredible duo trapped in one brain casing" wrote>>>>>>> Cole, I don't get it. Why are you an advocate for "recovering" religionists. As I understand, you have hated religion since you were a kid, even taking jobs on Sunday to avoid church. Whats the deal?
Cole, I believe, you need to have your "personal" mission defined in this group - HELP CRAZIES like AdamH/Will Graham "RECOVER" from religion.
They can have god in their heart for all they want as long as they don't have a blockage in it.
Helping them "recover" from religion is a great idea, Cole! Keep it up! I understand that quite a few folsk from Meetups come to your "Recovering from Religion" events?
I wonder if there will be more coverage of your group in the media - it sounkds like a good councelling alternative for someone who may need it? - kind of like "AAA" only "RAA" - "Religoius Alchoholics Anonymous?"
Here is to "Religious Alchoholics Anonymous" and "open" - like our own "blog grown" crazies.
Posted by: IGGY - www.KCFreeThinkers.org | June 26, 2009 at 01:25 PM
AndyB wrote>>>>> Bill - Re: Christians as a target demographic. I think it depends upon what is being marketed. If it's cheap plastic crosses and car magnets, I have trouble with it. But if it is free trade coffee and fair-wage food, I wouldn't.
I found an e-mail from http://www.BuyFromAChristian.com in my gmail folder yesterday. They say 10% of sale will go towards the church you designate. Lots of stuff on sale.
Your talk about "free trade coffee" got me thinking about the http://www.KiVa.org site that I have been pariticpting in. I have "micro" loans going out all over the world to folks developing countries. I've chosen primarily women and some even in former Soviet Union countries.
There is a thriving Atheist/Agnostic community there on Kiva - IT'S BEATING CHRISTIANS IN DONATIONS :o) and has been for months. To me, this is a fascinating "freethinking" experiment - NO MONEY IS BEING SPENT ON "INFRASTRUCTURE" OF THIS SITE - they accpet donations only to run it (I donate every time I make another loan).
So, 100% of the "micro loan" goes to CAUSES. A good alternative to churches which have 80-90% overhead to pay salaries and maintain buildings and keep the flock in check.
Religion has to die out in this "commerical wasting of money" form - they spend too much $ on "spiffing up" that can keep the world humming and prospering. Christainty must die too, god can live :o)
Everybody will win when "Xians" who are "nromal and liberal" take over the church - fat chance of that in our life time. One thing is clear - in 40-100 yeas Xianity will die out in America or morph into something totally unrecognizable today.
I view it as "deistic Xiantiy" in 100 years.
Posted by: IGGY - www.KCFreeThinkers.org | June 26, 2009 at 01:26 PM
There is nothing that would change Iggy's mind.
I DARE HIM to name something that WOULD CHANGE HIS MIND about Christianity.
I will demonstrate that his ONE TRACK BIRD BRAIN will not change! LOL!
Posted by: adam harrison | June 26, 2009 at 02:49 PM
Susan, you say you are simply upholding the truth when it comes to Iggy.
So, you agree that Christians are delusional? That is what he claims.
He says there is no truth. You defend him on that, too?
And YES SUSAN, he believes that inanimate matter produces intelligence. That is a fact, however he words it. He said "when it is shown"...he did NOT say IF it is shown.
He said it.
Do you defend that, as well?
WHAT TRUTH DOES IGGY PRESENT THAT YOU ARE UPHOLDING?
Posted by: adam harrison | June 26, 2009 at 03:01 PM
Is HILARIOUS to read IGGY talking about DONATIONS! Hahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!!!!
Remember, THE ATHEIST RELIEF FUND HE WAS STARTING LAST YEAR?
How's that working out? (chuckle)
Posted by: adam harrison | June 26, 2009 at 03:17 PM
I definitely agree with Bill's comment yesterday that:" Humans claiming to speak for God should always be under suspiciion."
Some humans who think God is speaking TO them also make me nervous ! Remember George W. Bush telling his pastor that he thought God was telling him to run for President ? God also a comedian surely !
As for the commercial targeting of Christians, you are not being at all irrational Bill ! There's a lot of commercial targeting BY Christians FOR Christians going on.
Businessmen who advertise themselves as "Christian Family Man" are to be avoided like the plague. Just because they call themselves christian does not make them a good plumber or handyman and they usually turn out to be crooks. My point is that calling oneself or a product christian does not endow it or them with any special qualities.
Now if the products or services were being given away as Moslems do alms an important "pillar" of the religion and take the commercialism and profit out of the business then it would be a good advertisement for the religion, wouldnt it ?
Posted by: Red Biddy | June 26, 2009 at 03:40 PM
Iggy, that KiVa project sounds wonderful -- and doable even for people who don't have the ability to "adopt a child" because they can't depend on having extra money every month to keep it up. And how awesome that they do all this with no overhead!
By the way, I got curious and googled "Christian deism" -- and did you know that it actually exists today? Thomas Jefferson is believed to have been a Christian Deist.
Posted by: Susan | June 26, 2009 at 03:56 PM
I find it interesting that people use faith as a marketing tool. It's true, there are a lot of Christians in America!
But I worry that it undermines faith, brings it to a level of triteness, if all you have to do is say, "here Christian, Christian, see, it says Christian, buy this!"
Then again, I suppose everyone wants to make money. We target 9-12 year-olds (tweens), the elderly, the non-faithful, the rich, the disabled, and the middle-agers, so why not make some (more) money off of the faithful?
Posted by: The Secular Parent | June 26, 2009 at 05:10 PM
KiVa is a great site, I love the idea of "micro credit" - these folks would not be able to get $50-200 loan anywhere locally. You as "lender" don't make a penny on it, it's all interest free to you, but when it's repaid you can go and reinvest again and again and again.
Imagine if BILLIONS OF CHRISTIANS AND MUSLIMS AND JEWS AND BUDDHISTS AND OTHER RELIGOIUS people EVERY WEEK would spend 5 min on this instead of choseing what dress or suit to wear to church and gossip about "salvation" through "salivation" at church.
Billions of $$ would be saved on no make up, no gas, no new clothing, no wasted time, no churches, no paving the parking lot and cleanign it of snow in winter, painting and maintaintg buildings, paying salaries of minsiters and staff.
Literally in 10-50 years TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS CAN BE USED FOR THE COMMON GOOD OF THE WORLD - CUTTING THE MIDDLE MAN - CHURCH.
God can stay and his works can be done, but the church and its clergy must die out like an extinct species.
I veiw them as hair "lice" - they are 100% dependant on humans and their DNA is intertwined with ours - they can only live on humans and nownere else. The same with the church - it leaches to mankind, if there is a space alien (aka god) then the chuch just a facade and show off. I've proposed this ot many Xians - TO MAKE THE LIFE MORE EFFIENCT AND PRODUCTIVE - you get stares in return.
They understand - they just cannot get rid of the COMPLEXT OF INFERIORITY THAT THE SPACE ALEIN HAS THEM UNDER.
As for Xian deism - with 33,000+ sects of Xianity alone in the world I would not be suprised if there is Xian masochism either - you will see all kind of weirdos "speaking for the mind of god"
E.g. we have our own blog grown crazies here - a perfect example - the dynamic duo of adamh/Will Graham - all trapped in one body and one brain - TWISTING AND SAYING AND HASHING AND REHASHING STUFF THAT ***EVERYONE*** normal on this blog understands to be not accurate.
Hey, but he has a church/religion/Xianity that stand in front of his understanding of god and the real world. You cannot blame him for it. One can only ownder if he understands that he can over come it and become a Xian deist himslef - instead aof a Xian crazy he is now.
Posted by: IGGY - www.KCFreeThinkers.org | June 26, 2009 at 05:17 PM
adamh -- you wonder what truth I am upholding? You think it's about Iggy ... or Cole or Secular Parent -- all of whom I've gotten onto you or Will about, because of your proclivity for talking like they said things they never said?
This is not about me agreeing with every word that comes out of Iggy or anyone else's mouth. The difference between what I'm getting onto you about, and what you THINK I should be getting onto him about, is that you (or Will) keep claiming that people have said things they HAVEN'T said, whereas Iggy is just presenting his opinion.
The truth I'm talking about here is the truth about what has or hasn't been said: it's truth in the communication process. Individual opinions may be wrong -- but communication totally breaks down when you can't even respond to the actual words that are being said.
And, no, I don't think ALL Christians are delusional. However, in the case of you and Will, it seems kinder to think of you as delusional, then to assume you are being willfully dishonest.
Posted by: Susan | June 26, 2009 at 07:28 PM
Iggy, I disagree with your view that the church and its clergy are like hair lice -- but I do agree that change would be a good thing.
I currently love the idea of having more community connections -- getting to know our neighbors, having friends over, sharing food and having fun together. And working on projects together. And sharing about what's important to us as it comes up -- both online and in real life. Praying with people who want to pray together. Singing together.
It sounds like lots of folks are of a similar mind, since church attendance is dropping. I guess we'll just see what evolves.
Posted by: Susan | June 26, 2009 at 07:48 PM
Susan, Iggy has said EVERYTHING that I have repeated.
All of it.
And much more, if you look at the archives.
I have not claimed that he said ANYTHING that he hasn't said.
Now you say you don't think ALL Christians are delusional?
Does that mean you think MOST Christians are delusional.
You are the one who is wiilfully dishonest...you KNOW what Iggy is trying to do here.
AS to DONATIONS base on anything Iggy recommends...well, would you do business that a man who has quoted Hannibal Lector for over A FULL YEAR?
Posted by: Will Graham | June 26, 2009 at 08:52 PM