Brands of Faith: Marketing Religion in a Commercial Age (Routledge, 2008)
Brands of Faith was the first book to seriously examine the intersection between religion and marketing. It takes a hard look at why religion is, and needs to be, aggressively marketed in a society overrun by commercial clutter. In order to be heard above the noise of other advertised products, religion and religious products must use every trick in the marketing arsenal. In a category that used to be guaranteed an audience – if your mom said you were going to church, you were going to church – now there is a competitive arena filled with both other faiths and a myriad of more entertaining, more convenient leisure time activities. In light of this competition, faiths have become brands – easily recognizable symbols and spokespeople with whom religious prospects can make immediate connections.
Blending the sacred with the secular, however, has consequences – both for religion itself and for the culture more broadly. We have to question whether religion will survive if it becomes so of the market that it loses its unique selling proposition – the very ability to raise us above the commercial culture.
“In a world in which everything is taken to market—education, art, pollution credits—why should religion be any different? In her thoroughly entertaining and informative Brands of Faith, marketing pro Mara Einstein shows that it’s not being neglected. Far from it. Denominations brand themselves as ferociously as soap companies and innovators now roil the once-docile forgiveness & salvation market…If religion taught the markets how to sell, the favor is now being returned.”
—James B. Twitchell, author of Branded Nation and AdCult
“Mara Einstein takes us into the world of religious marketing and its many “faith brands,” and explores how products create and sustain popular religious and spiritual identities but also transforms them in the process…Readers will be fascinated, and perhaps alarmed, by the extent to which we are caught up in a market-driven world. “
—Wade Clark Roof, author of A Generation of Seekers