Anti-God campaign proves divine marketing

People say that marketing's job is to create believers. The atheistic Anti-God ad campaign in the UK that has stirred attention at home and abroad does the opposite: it endorses the beliefs of non-believers (and maybe - stretch goal - tries to convert som

Atheist Bus Org

People say that marketing's job is to create believers. The atheistic Anti-God ad campaign in the UK that has stirred attention at home and abroad does the opposite: it endorses the beliefs of non-believers (and maybe - stretch goal - tries to convert some believers into non-believers). "There is probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life," claim posters that appear on 800 buses in England, Scotland, and Wales, as well as on the London Underground. The campaign was initiated by the British Humanist Association and is supported by scientist and vocal atheist Richard Dawkins.

The organization Christian Voice has filed a complaint to the British Advertising Standards Authority accusing the campaign of breaking rules on substantiation and truthfulness, but not all Christians object to it. In fact, some even welcome public discussions about God. The Rev. Jenny Ellis, spirituality and discipleship officer for the Methodist Church, said: "This campaign will be a good thing if it gets people to engage with the deepest questions of life."

In any case, the posters and the subsequent public debate seem to have successfully resolved what French sociologist Émile Durkheim considered to be the central characteristic of religion: the dichotomy between the sacred and the profane. It is perhaps marketing's biggest strength that it can highlight the sacred in the profane and the profane in the sacred. The campaign may claim that there is (probably) no God, but it has proven the existence of "marketing with meaning": Provocative marketing that makes you think by challenging the most fundamental beliefs in the most mundane places.

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    Tim Leberecht is Frog Design's chief marketing officer. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET.

     

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