About the discipline
Understanding religious and cultural traditions can make or break an advertising campaign. Knowing how to appeal to an individual or community’s sense of tradition, symbolism and beliefs about how the world functions creates effective advertising and marketing. Not understanding themes found offensive in various faiths and cultures can make a campaign fail or create backlash in those communities.
Advertising is about understanding the psychology of the audience, understanding what people believe, why they believe it and what it means to them.
Understanding religious and cultural themes helps craft advertising, whether to a specific religious demographic or a mainstream audience.
Religious products, from Christian-themed movies and cartoons, to books and T-shirts, are a growing market. Also growing is designing campaigns for religious institutions, whether congregations, denominations or faiths, to establish a “brand,” as well as advertising agencies devoted to particular faiths and faith markets. Six in 10 Americans say religion is “very important” in their lives. Advertising specifically to and for religious communities will be a continued trend.
- “Advertising panel approves British `No God’ bus ads,” by Al Webb, Religion News Service, Jan. 22, 2009.
- “Ethics and Values in Advertising: Professional Identities and Organizational Cultures” by David Krueger. Religion, Morality and the Professions in America. The Poynter Center for the Study of Ethics and American Institutions, Indiana University.
- “’Mercy’ ad campaign urges Saudis to treat foreign workforce humanely” by Caryle Murphy. Christian Science Monitor, Dec. 10, 2008.
- “Religion and Advertising” by Peter Steinfels. New York Times, Dec. 18, 2004.
- “Satisfaction for Whom? Freedom for What? Theology and the Economic Theory of the Consumer” by Mark Nixon. Journal of Business Ethics. 70, no. 1 (2007): 39-60.
- “Spirituality in Advertising: A New Theoretical Approach” by Marmor-Lavie, Galit, Patricia A. Stout, and Wei-Na Lee. Journal of Media and Religion. 8, no. 1 (2009): 1-23.
- “The influence of religion on attitudes towards the advertising of controversial products.” Kim Shyan Fam, David S. Waller, B. Zafer Erdogan. European Journal of Marketing. Emerald Group Publishing Limited. 2004, Vol. 38, Issue 5/6, pgs. 537-555.
- “The Presence of Religious Symbols and Values in Advertising” by David Fairfield and Madeline Johnson. Diversity in Advertising. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2004.
- “Unlikely pairing of religion, advertising produces two honored campaigns” by Peter Van Allen. Philadelphia Business Journal, July 22, 2005.
- “Walking Fine Line of Faith in Advertising” by Jordan Weissmann. The Washington Post, Oct. 25, 2008.
- Brands of Faith: Marketing Religion in a Commercial Age. Mara Einstein. Routledge, 2007.
- Faith-Based Marketing: The Guide to Reaching 140 Million Christian Customers. Bob Hutchins and Greg Stielstra. Wiley, 2009.
- Issues in American Advertising: Media, Society, and a Changing World. Tom Reichert, executive editor. The Copy Workshop, a division of Bruce Bendinger Creative Communications Inc. Chicago, Ill, 2008.
- On Earth As It Is In Advertising?: Moving from Commercial Hype to Gospel Hope. Sam Van Eman. Wipf & Stock Publishers, April 1, 2010.
- The Religious Dimensions of Advertising. Tricia Sheffield. Palgrave Macmillan, Nov. 14, 2006.
- Religion, Culture and Advertising: A Pakistani Perspective. Hamza Javed. Lap Lambert Academic Publishing, Aug. 6, 2012.
- “GHD advertising campaign across cultures: A case study” by Stefania M. Maci. Revista alicantina de estudios ingleses. No. 19 (Nov. 2006). pp. 211-223.
- “How the iPhone became divine: new media, religion, and the intertextual circulation of meaning” by Heidi A. Campbell and Antonio C. La Pastina, Texas A&M University. New Media & Society, SAGE Publications. Vol. 12, No. 7 (Nov., 2010), pp. 1191-1207.
- “In the Flow of Media, Religion, and Culture: A Case Study With TVbyGIRLS” by Claire Bischoff, Rebecca Richards Bullen, Molly Nemer, and Rachel Quednau. Religious Education, Religious Education Association. Vol. 106, No. 4 (Aug., 2011), pp. 384-97.
- Issues in American Advertising: Media, Society, and a Changing World. (Chapter on Islam). Tom Reichert, executive editor. The Copy Workshop, a division of Bruce Bendinger Creative Communications Inc. Chicago, Ill, 2008.
- “The Case Study Approach in Cross-Cultural Research” by S. Watson Dunn. Journal of Marketing Research, American Marketing Association. Vol. 3, No. 1 (Feb., 1966), pp. 26-31.
Codes of ethics
- American Advertising Federation – Advertising Ethics and Principles
- American Association of Advertising Agencies – Standards of Practice
- American Institute of Graphic Arts – Standards of Conduct
- American Marketing Association – Statement of Ethics
- Association for Business Communication — Code of Conduct
- Business Marketing Association – Code of Ethics
- Direct Marketing Association – Overview including Five Pillars of Member Service
- Entertainment Resources & Marketing Association – Code of Standards and Ethics (Section 3 of Bylaws)
- Interactive Advertising Bureau – Ad Standards & Creative Guidelines
- International Association of Business Communicators – Code of Ethics for Professional Communicators
- Public Relations Society of America – Member Code of Ethics
- The Association for Women in Communication – “First Amendment Rights”
- Advertising and Society Review
- First Things: A Monthly Journal of Religion & Public Life
- Journal of Contemporary Religion
- Journal of Media & Religion
- Journal of Religion & Society
- “Advertising, Cultural Diversity & the Importance of Demographics: Keys to Successful Marketing,” by Christine Cadena. Associated Content. June 27, 2007
- Ethnoconnect – “The Multicultural Sales Solution”
- Faith-Based Marketing New Perspectives, collection of information on the use of marketing by faith-based organizations and the use of faith in marketing itself (includes all major faiths)
- Inside the Business of Religion (NPR)
- Mixing Business with Beliefs, a look at the Chick-fil-A boycotts of Summer 2012 and what they tell us about mixing faith and commerce (NPR)
Professional associations and faith groups
- Churches Advertising Network
- Faith-Based Marketing Association
- Odyssey Networks
- Religion Communicators Council
- Religious Communication Association
- World Association for Christian Communication
- Issues in American Consumer Culture. Prof. Chris Smith, University of Southern California