Go Sell It on the Mountain: The Religions of Iconic Brands Apple, Nike, and Disney
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CitationGraves, Vann. 2014. Go Sell It on the Mountain: The Religions of Iconic Brands Apple, Nike, and Disney. Master's thesis, Harvard University, Extension School.
AbstractWestern popular culture often suffers from a lack of understanding of religious doctrine and tradition. A 2010 U.S. Religious Knowledge Survey conducted by the Pew Research Center showed that the level of American religious illiteracy is extremely high:
45% of Catholics in the United States do not know that their church
teaches that the bread and wine used in Communion do not merely
symbolize, but actually become the body and blood of Christ.
53% of Protestants cannot correctly identify Martin Luther as the person whose writings and actions inspired the Protestant Reformation, which made their religion a separate branch of Christianity.
43% of Jews do not recognize that Maimonides, one of the most venerated rabbis in history, was Jewish.
47% of Americans know that the Dalai Lama is Buddhist.
38% correctly associate Vishnu and Shiva with Hinduism.
27% of Americans correctly answer that most people in Indonesia--the country with the world's largest Muslim population--are Muslims.
Some marketers and advertising executives have been able to capitalize on this illiteracy through organizing branding campaigns and strategies based on generic religious components.
This thesis evaluates how some brands, including Apple, Nike, and Disney, have elevated themselves to the status of consumer religions by using familiar religious archetypes, frameworks, and stereotypes. These elements are not only derived from a true theological
understanding of religion, but are equally derivative of misrepresentations of religious traditions. This study explores how accurate and inaccurate assumptions about religion inform marketing and advertising strategies. By relying on widespread illiteracy about religion, brands can imitate only the aspects of religion that best sell their respective products to the widest audience. Apple, Nike, and Disney's marketing strategies have incorporated the tenets of religion so powerfully that they have set themselves up as virtual religions.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37367539
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