Following God Or The Advertisers?

by: Anthony Keith Whitehead

We live in a society which is today increasingly dominated by economic considerations. At national level, political factors, aims and objectives are frequently determined, or at least are severely modified by domestic or international economic forces.
What applies to an individual country applies, probably with even greater force, to individual corporations and firms.
The latter have always been, but today are even more locked in fierce battles with rivals. In the end those battles are for victory over YOUR mind. You are the ultimate objective of all their wheelings and dealings. Why ? Because you are the one who BUYS. And whether you buy from them or not is what determines their economic viability.
(An extended discussion of this and related topics can be found in “The Path To Freedom” at http://www.christianword.co.uk)
Mammon Or Messiah?
None of this would really matter were it not that manufacturers, services providers and the like who hire and pay advertisers are propagators of Mammon (using that term as Jesus would have used it). In other words, they have scant concern for Jesus as Messiah. Rather, theirs are values of the world. As John 15. 18, 19f tells us, God and the world are at enmity. The reason? Worldly values are almost always not on God’s list of things that will benefit us. Rather, they are on his list of values that will take us from him.
Enticement
At the extremes, advertising can be completely informative or entirely persuasive. There are decreasing examples of the former and increasing examples of the latter.
Moreover, the content of persuasive advertising is more and more characterised by by two outstanding features. The first is sex; the second is that, especially on TV, the actual content is increasingly irrelevant to the product acually being sold. Indeed, the relationship between the two becomes more and more obtuse.
This, in fact, seems to emphasise that advertisers and advertising agencies have only one real objective: to sell the product regardless of any other principles. This is the reason for the observed higher role of sex in advertising. Advertising professionals have found that sex can be used to promote almost anything.
The Language Advertisers Understand.
Every time we, as consumers, respond to adverts by buying the product, we are in fact rewarding advertising agencies and the manufacturers who pay them and keep them in (very often) a highly lucrative business.
These people understand only one language. that language is the corrolation between advertising expenditure and sales. This is the ONLY thing they understand. It is the only relationship which speaks to them.
The Implications For Christians
Whenever we buy a product or service (such as insurance, a holiday, travel or credit card) through advertising we are doing two things.
First, we are voting for more of the same advertising. It does not matter whether we wanted to or intended to. the inescapable fact is that this is what we have done.
Secondly, regardless of how immoral or objectionsable the advewrtising, we have supported it with the only kind of support it can appreciate: our money. it does not matter whether we wanted to or intended to. the inescapable fact is that this is what we have done.
The Consequences For Christians
The consequences are clear and obvious. No Christian can in conscience buy products or services which are being marketed through objectionable and morally questionable methods. No Christian can justify the purchase of goods and services which, however good in themselves,are subject to marketing techniques which offend against and undermine the values and principles which Jesus, the Bible and the Christian Church have set for us. Each of us has the unavoidable responsibility of first examining the pattern of our purchases in the light of the methods by which they are marketed. lollipops or cars, it makes no difference; and secondly, to write to the producers and tell them that we are refusing to buy and why.
Where retailers are concerned, the implication relative to one product may result in a boycott of that retailer. qwertyuiopqwertyuiopqwertyuiopqwertyuiopqwertyuiop For example, in the UK Boots the Chemists have chosen to sell “French Connection” products which all carry their offensive set of initials.
The language in which we speak to stores like this has to be not only clear but also carry the kind of weight and consequence which will communicate our objections.
In a society increasingly dominated by sex, secularism and the destruction of Christian values, these are the only effective responses available to us. If, that is, we are to follow Jesus rather than the advertisers.

About The Author

Anthony Keith Whitehead
Over twenty-three years in Christian healing teaching writing ministries. Wide range of secular employments before being called by the Lord into full time independent ministry in 1987. With his wife Iris he has ministered both in the UK and USA. Has written several books on healing meditation and various aspects of spirituality. Formal qualifications include: B.A. M.Phil. Cambridge University Certificate in Religious Studies Post Grad Cert in Education.
Web Site: http://www.christianword.co.uk

This article was posted on August 16, 2005