Thursday, October 08, 2009

Markets Need Morals 2: the 'Christian Market'

Continuing the marketing theme from yesterdays post, have a look at this collection of Strangest Christian Products. I'm not sure what possesses people to create a pink wax Jesus, though I guess it's the prospect of a ready market.

I know lots of Christians who will try where they can to shop ethically, who give away a good slice of their income, and are generous. However it's also clear that there is a ready 'Christian market' for products, be it yet another live worship CD, or a book franchise, or a repackaged Bible. I'm probably oversensitive to marketing, but if we're going to learn to live on less, it's got to be one of the first 'professions' up against the wall. Either the industry which earns it's keep by persuading us to consume stuff we don't really need doesn't have a future, or we don't have a future.

Markets need morals. There's talk of a new moral code for banks. Wouldn't it be great if Christian business could actually lead by example? I'm sure others will have better ideas, but how about some agreed ground rules across businesses who sell to the Christian market?

For example
1. Any worship song to be recorded a maximum of 3 times on separate CD's, after which it can no longer be used on any other product. Blessed be Your Name is a cracking song, but do we really need it to be available on 10 different worship collections?

2. No author may re-use more than 25% of the title of one book in the title of another. That will avoid the recycled franchises of 'the power of a praying.....' or whatever the latest craze is.

3. A limit on the number of forms any particular idea/title can be marketed in. Thus 'What Would Jesus Do?' can only be available in 2 formats out of wristband, t-shirt, bobble hat, book, CD, exercise DVD, Bible study notes and beermat.

4. A limit on the number of formats any translation of the Bible can be made available in. We do not need 5 different holders, 4 different sizes, in pink for women, blue for men and a black metal box for teens, or 5 different variants of study bible depending on whether you have an NVQ, BSc or PhD in Hebrew. Hardback, paperback and large print seems to work pretty well for every other book on the market.

5. Bans on certain terms being used: e.g. 'the ultimate worship experience' (no, that's when you live your life in 24/7 devotion to God, read Romans 12:1), 'this book will change your life' (no it won't, though you might decide to change a few things as a result of reading it. The agent of change is normally you in partnership with God, not a wad of paper), and any comparisons with CS Lewis.

6. No Jesus dolls. None whatsoever. NO DOLLS.

any other suggestions?
and Zoomtard notes the size of the turnover in Christian copyright. It's not surprising some people are tempted to try to get 'their' share, but.....


  1. My day has not got off to a good start. My proposed volume 'The Dave Walker Guide to Pickles and Sauces' would fall foul of guideline 2 and therefore be frowned upon. And my forthcoming 'Guide to the Church' bobble hat would fall foul of regulation 3, and so it goes on.

  2. No more pink bible covers for girls would be good for so many reasons... but I have to put my hands up for recommending Jesus pencil toppers on my blog the other day. It was a particularly bleak day, and they just made me laugh.

  3. Alleluia Amen.

    And no more books with a smiling bloke on the front and a smiling wife with dyed blonde hair who is always slightly smaller than her husband with the word 'success' in the title...

  4. Surely nodding Jesus dolls from Walsingham are acceptable?

  5. G - absolutely not, there's a circle of hell reserved for the manufacture of nodding Jesus dolls. Especially those from Walsingham.

    Dave - sorry, it's nothing personal.

    Graham - what are you trying to say about my wife?

  6. eeek I just noticed my identity has been converted to a gobbledegook number!! what happened there?? Maggi

  7. I figured it was a bit of subliminal marketing.

    You are not a number, you are a free woman!

  8. Have just posted about the awful 'Guitar Praise' product that is a 'Christian' version of Guitar Hero. Not only is it unbelievably consumerist but with the price tag of just £59 will be manufactured using potentially both slave labour and unethical practices. The Devil Inside...