Is God a good marketing strategy?

We’ve seen God portrayed in myriad ways and most often as father figure or protector but rarely as a marketing force (unless you count ‘Catholicism WOW’ and ‘Buddy Christ’ in the brilliantly funny Dogma!).

A new study by researchers from Stanford University found that when the concept of the divine was used in advertising, even in an offhand manner or an ad on social media, consumers’ appetite for risk-taking increased. Like trying a new product or experience, even one with a bit of danger.

There are some US brands (e.g. Forever 21, In and Out Burger) that have, in the past, featured a bible verse (John 3:16) on their bags and cups. Are they saying ‘you can trust us, we’re more ethical’? This research would suggest that some citizens of the US are more willing to do business with companies that appear this way. It’s certainly not the case that ‘Godliness’ is a guarantee of fairness or ethical behaviour but at a time when trust in business and brands has been eroded and consumers prefer to listen to what their peers say over what brands tell them, perhaps Godliness acts as something of a short cut to safety, security and peace of mind.

What would be interesting to see is whether the same influence comes to bear with us lot here in the less devout Blighty…

Read the whole story at The New York Times