Divine Communication?

In a posting I have done last year, I mentioned how I was a bit surprised about a bill-board along the New Jersey Turnpike mentioning that when I die, I will meet God. I mentioned that I did not think it was the right way to put your ‘brand’ into the market.

And today, when I drove by a ‘newer’ bill-board that had replaced the ‘old’ one already a couple of months ago. This time it mentioned how the Bible is the definite resource, answer to all the questions and, most of all, ‘final’.

Now, let me mention first of all that this post is not about religion, but plainly from a marketing perspective, audiences and communication. Although I am not religious, I am personally not biased to any kind of belief or religion that people hold dear in their lives. So although this posting is about the marketing of the Bible, it can be replaced with any of the other religious Words out there.

But what I find interesting is that I do not know who those bill-boards are directed at. Because I am confused. Are the bill-boards there to actually attract new followers, get people back to the Church, or get the Word out. Because, those are three complete different target audiences, with three complete different ways of communicating.

I would think that it is the second group. Because the message really tries to mention that what the Holy Bible mentions is correct, it has all the answers and it is final. That last word, ‘final’, is what makes me think this is the target audience. People who are in doubt about their religion. And that this is a way of telling that there is no doubt. Period.

Because, for any other audience, it feels a bit like scare-ware. Telling that the written Word is the only word, it is not really selling itself. Think about another product, mentioning that it is the only thing out there what you would need in your life. Even Apple would not think of doing that.

But also, is religion a ‘product’ that needs selling in the form of advertisement? The Church has had its share of bad media reputation over the last few years, but this is the wrong message. Because instead of making me feel tempted to find more out what religion, or in this case, the Church, could mean in my life, it feels like someone is telling me I am wrong, wrong, wrong. That how I have my lived my life until now has been wrong!

And I don’t know about you, but that is something that doesn’t really tempt me. Because I am pretty good where I am right now. Family, income, stability and friends. If someone tells me I am wrong, and that person doesn’t even know me, it just won’t work for me.

It is like someone telling me that, although I have made quite some productions using the Windows platform, Apple would come by and telling me I am wrong using that platform for development. Not with any reasoning except telling me the Apple platform is the right one.

Actually, this happens to me all the time with Comcast, who once every three months keeps ringing my doorbell, every time asking me that I made the wrong choice by moving to FiOS. I am happy with FiOS. Fast speeds, and a solid performance. But they keep telling me I am wrong. Sorry Comcast, but, I don’t care! Get off my front porch!

I think the Church should really re-consider their marketing campaigns. If they want to get to new people, they will first have to learn to talk their language. And that might be hard. But like any commercial company that needs to reach their audience; there is no other way.

Any religion, trying to get a larger audience, should handle it’s marketing like commercial companies do. Because, well, even though it might be a move they don’t want to do, you have to talk the language that your audience speaks. And then make that language your own, so you can convey your message in the right way.

To start out with, if this bill-board that I was mentioning would have replaced it’s text from ‘Final’ to, ‘If you are lost for answers, The Bible might have all the answers you need.’ it conveys the same message, but just feels a lot more attractive.

I have to admit, that the billboard one mentioning The Bible is God’s Facebook is quite original.

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One thought on “Divine Communication?

  1. I understand and agree with your evaluation of this particular example of religious “advertising”. However the answer is, and I am sure you have considered this, is fear. Religion and especially Christians and Catholics have had the market cornered on fear for nearly 2,000 years. How you want to interpret that is up to you. But I cite the example of gargoyles as the prime idea. Religion gets your attention by grabbing you where your weakest…and for most of is its our fear of death. Now in regards to this billboard some will see it and have a self satisfaction that they have been good, pious, and will meet God with a smile. Most others though will see it and, for a moment, dread having to meet their creator and explain their sins. And of course many will then shrug it off and move forward. But for those with an iota of belief this billboard may be the extra kick to get them “back with God”.

    This campaign of fear is not unlike what is used with governments and even commercial institutions to a degree. I think many would agree a tinge of fear is found in many commercials in which anyone who doesn’t buy this product will be labeled as poor, ugly out of style, and plain stupid for not owning it. But thats my POV.

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