Thursday, October 8, 2015

Somewhere between branding and religion

I first heard this joke circa 1997: a mosque and a church stood in a worn down village in Lebanon. One day, the mosque started a major renovation process. Intrigued the priest went to the cheikh to ask him where he got his funding from. The cheikh simply said, "well, I was approached by Pepsi, and they said, instead of going "bismillah Allah al Rahaman al Rahim" switch to "Pepsi'llah al Rahman al Rahim" and we would finance the reconstruction of your mosque". So the priest went to Coca-Cola, told them the story, and offered to say "Cola-Leison" in church instead of "Kirieleison" and secured financing to renovate his church.
To say that religion and marketing are closely related would be an underestimation of how close they are. I know a lot of you would be offended, but think about it pragmatically and you will see I am not far off. The point has already been made by Mr. Farid Chehab in his seminal presentation inside Leo Burnett, when he compared religion to the "mother of all integration" where everything follows the best branding procedure to serve a central narrative (this will be detailed in his book "de Bonheur et d'Idees" which will launch on October 29).
All Apple Fanboys and Fangirls know what I talk about, for Apple perfected the technique of religious fervor when it comes to its brand. Other companies are less obvious in that respect, yet still borrow a page from religions' way of marketing themselves.
I could have finished this post with Amen, but the name A*men already belongs to Thierry Mugler for his cologne!

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