an Ad a Day

A look at the marketing that surrounds us.

Posts Tagged ‘religion’

Movie Monday: Eat Pray Love

Posted by Rosepixie on June 7, 2010

This is a poster for the upcoming movie version of Eat Pray Love.

I stared that this poster for a long time before deciding to talk about it here.  The thing is, this poster bugs me.  A lot.  And it took me a while to figure out exactly why.

It’s the nun.  I don’t think that the nun belongs in this poster.  In fact, I think she’s there deliberately and it bugs me even more now that I realize she’s the problem here.  The thing about Eat Pray Love is that it’s a memoir very specifically divided into three sections: eat, pray and love.  Each one follows the author’s journey to a different country and focuses very much on a different thing.  “Eat” focuses on her travels to Italy and, obviously, is in large part focused on her explorations of different dishes and foods.  “Pray” focuses on her travels to India and her spiritual quest there, which is not (obviously, since it’s in Italy and not the Vatican City) centered around Catholicism.  “Love” takes place in Indonesia and tells about her taking a lover there.

I’m pretty sure the nun is in this poster so that Julia Roberts eating gelato isn’t just representing the “eat” portion of the story, but that the poster can also evoke the “pray” part.  The problem is that it’s deceptive and makes me suspicious of the movie’s adaption of the book.  It’s deceptive because it suggests that “pray” has something to do with the Christian religion, which it doesn’t really.  It makes me suspicious because I have to wonder if Hollywood changed the story so that it does.

This may all sound like nitpicking, but in a country full of people who assume that the world is Christian and nothing that isn’t Christian is religious this kind of message is powerful.  Even subtle messages matter (hopefully if you’ve been reading this blog for a while that isn’t a new idea), and subtle message that I got from this poster was a continued marginalization of anything that wasn’t Christian.  There are so many ways they could have evoked Italy and food without Christian imagery and ways they could evoke India and her spiritual journey as well, but this is what they chose?  I just find it frustrating and disappointing.  We can do better and we should expect better.

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Revelation Unleashed: Fear and Manipulation

Posted by Rosepixie on October 8, 2009

This is a flyer that I got in the mail for a show called Revelation Unleashed.

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The front cover says:

Decoding the Signs

What does your future hold?

Revelation Unleashed

A prophecy series coming live to Austin

When you open the front cover you find a page (above) that says:

When the security of our jobs, retirement plans and education fail us, where do we turn?

There is so much of life outside our control.  We find ourselves losing sleep, worrying about problems we can’t solve.  But what if you could understand the signs that unlock the future and find peace?

What people are saying

“I was desperately searching for peace.  I knew the answers lay in the Bible, but I never read it.  When I went to this conference, it made a big difference in my heart.” – Jim

“In all my life, I’d never heard the book of Revelation explained.  This conference answered all my questions.  I have hope now, because I know the end of the story.” – Cecille

“A very professional presentation.  This conference took ancient biblical truth and made it relevant for my life today.  Jesus is more real to me as a result.” – Steve

The back cover repeats everything that was on the front cover, gives the date/time/location information and promises a free Bible after you’ve attended 9 presentations as well as free admission, free child care and free study guides, presumably for everyone.

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The text inside the flyer reads:

Our world is in crisis.

War, famine, disease, natural disasters, terrorism

The signs point to a light running through the darkness…

Ancient writings foretold Signs that would lead to a world-changing event.

As fear rising to an all-time high, many  people wonder if there is a God, or why He hasn’t stopped the countless tragedies.  But the prophesies of His Word, which have proven themselves with 100% accuracy, give the whole story.  They tell us why there truly is hope in these troubled times.  Now you can find the answers you seek.  These writings – called the Bible – will be our guide to decode the Signs.

Key Benefits:

– Understand why the world is falling into darkness
– Learn God’s plan of hope for humanity
– Discover the Signs showing God will act soon
– Find peace and joy in your life today

Presentations continue nightly.  Topics include:

– Economic outlook
– The antichrist and 666
– Daniel’s and Revelation’s prophetic symbols
– The rapture and Armageddon
– The mark of the beast
– America in prophecy
– And more!

So, I’m not going to get into religion and beliefs.  Whether or not you believe we’re in the end times or that the events described in the book of Revelation are coming/will come true is not what I want to talk about here.  That’s your business and not the issue.  The issue here is the way this presentation is being marketed through this flyer.  So don’t leave me comments about religion, Revelation or prophecies because I will delete them.

This ad bothers me a lot.  It’s got this rather creepy image on the cover of a guy with what appear to be runes on his hand, an image I would associate with a cult or something arcane, not with anything Christian.  Inside, there are pictures that seem chosen for their shock value, designed to instill fear, placed next to frightening unspecific words people hear on the news.  The background is dark and, although you can’t really see it in the scans, it has faint Hebrew characters all over it.  The whole look seems designed to instill the feeling of mysticism, magic and fear into the viewer.  Considering this claims to be selling hope and comfort, that seems more than a little manipulative.

And that is really the other point.  This is trying to get people to come to an event by heightening exactly the feelings that the event claims to sooth, by stirring up suspicions that people may not have even had but might easily grab onto in fear.  Whoever designed this understood fear very well.  And what about the quotes?  There’s the person who knows the answers they really want are in the Bible, but hasn’t bothered to read it.  They must not want the answers that badly if they haven’t read the book they know the answers are in.  And the second quote sounds like someone who never even thought about Revelation before, but once this presentation (or, more likely, the marketing for it) showed them it was important, it changed their whole life.  But was their life missing something before, or was this a “fix” added later?  See how we’re missing vital information here?

This ad just felt like the worst kind of manipulation to me and I was, frankly, pretty horrified by it.  Does anyone else have any thoughts on it?

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