Sometimes, I find communications/advertising budgets staggering. Could it be that such investments are needed, because people have forgotten how to listen in our disordered world?
In her book Total Truth, Nancy Pearcey offers scathing critique on modern marketing techniques unthinkingly absorbed by Christians – projecting an idealised image that is not authentic, creating sense of heightened emergency so that money will roll in. She says:
Think of the ubiquitous fundraising letters that sound like they were all written by the same person – because they were ghostwritten by staffers all trained in the same techniques. Each letter creates a crisis mentality that is enhanced by melodramatic anecdotes, fake highlighting in the margins, and a signature produced by a machine. Where is the authenticity in all this? The name of a ministry leader appears at the bottom of the letter, but clearly it is not an authentic message from that person. It was produced by a committee of writers, marketers, and fund development professionals, carefully calculated to elicit a response. Should we shrug this off as benign deception? Or is it a serious moral failing that could spread corruption through an entire ministry? Can we compromise the truth without undermining our effectiveness for the Lord?
She later says:
Though Christians would never accept naturalism as a philosophy, many have absorbed a naturalistic approach to marketing, adopting techniques that treat a target audience essentially as passive “consumers” to be manipulated into buying a “product”.
The life of sensation is the life of greed. It requires more and more. The life of the spirit requires less and less; time is ample and its passage sweet – Annie Dillard