Jesus Games.

Posted on 15th April, 2014

We don’t really do religion in our family.


Indeed, the catch-all, non-denominational, multi-faith, woefully inaccurate moniker that we afford to all religions is ‘Jesus Games’.


Some people like to go and play Jesus Games on a Sunday, some on a Saturday, and some on a Friday.


We don’t.


But as easy as it is for us heathens to take potshots at religion, as marketers there’s a huge amount to admire.


Purpose. Amongst all the abject bullshit spouted about ‘purposeful’ brands these days, here’s some that indisputably are. Religions know, to Simon Sinek’s point, ‘why’ they exist and, as a result, their employer brands are to die for. Literally, sometimes.


Visual Identity.  The redacted, nuanced sophistication of the cross is so powerful it is uncanny – the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost all neatly encapsulated in one infinitely reproducible shape. The ancient symbolism of the Seder plate would put a Michelangelo to shame, and – whilst the use of symbols is prohibited in Islam – there is no denying the importance of (easily recognisable) geometry in Muslim architectural expression.


Storytelling. Religions know how to spin a good yarn.  This week’s Freak-The-Kids-Out includes either a zombie or the ‘Angel of Death’ depending on how much ‘Jesus’ you like with your ‘Games’. And in 8 short months’ time, we can look forward to the self-styled ‘Greatest Story Ever Told.’ However bizarre, these stories have endured, and they work on many different levels. No mean feat.


Tech. Leveraging the latest technology has always been a strength. The printing press enabled, for the first time, scalable storytelling: the Bible, the Qu’ran. And the advent of television ushered a whole new cadre of telegenic, sparkly-eyed ‘GamesMakers’; from the Tora Bora caves to the churches of middle America.  As a result, the stories have gone viral.


Integrated. Above-The-(Tree)Line spires and minarets are visible in our landscapes, and – consciously or otherwise – remind us of the various ‘brand promises’, whilst the DM that pours through the letterbox is seemingly as endless as His Love. There’s sonic branding, in the form of song, and – for the really dedicated – ‘uniforms’ to ensure you can stay bang on-message 24/7.


All of which perhaps gives food for thought in our world  - courtesy of those who believe in the next.


Happy Easter. And a Healthy Passover.


- this piece first kindly published by Campaign Magazine

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