As the boom of spirituality continues its course through church life and personal devotion, such a resurgence is also finding a growing presence in advertising and sales — two areas of the business world long considered hostile or indifferent to such expression.
According to writer Andy Cohen in Sales and Marketing Management magazine (August, 1997) an increasing number of sales managers and promoters are turning to such practices as opening sales meetings with prayers, in closing their office doors during business hours for meditation, and attending programs which aim at blending spirituality and business success.
For instance, the motivational program known as Peter Lowe’s Success has already attracted over 400,000 attendees this year, rising sharply from l996. Directors of programs for training of sales personnel are encouraging their staffs to know their own value systems so they can better understand those of their clients.
Believing that the rough and tumble world of competitive sales will not become “omnipotent in Corporate America,” proponents of the new spirituality find reason to think that their convictions are now being given a new, more sympathetic hearing in the marketplace. Further evidence of the new trend is presented in American Demographics (June). Advertising simply has absorbed the new public interest in spirituality and turned it into new programs to promote sales.
IBM’s Solutions for a Small Planet campaign has several religious themes. Nuns go to vespers while speaking of OS/2 computer networks. Eastern monks meditate telepathically about Lotus Notes. Nissan presents as a hero a wise, aging Asian guru, backed in the sound track by Eastern mystic music Chevrolet uses spiritual themes for its “Confessions,” as well as draw on eco-theology to promote its Chevy Taho products.
The author suggests that the new public receptivity to spirituality has led to a greater acceptance of religious themes in ads.
(Sales and Marketing Management, 355 Park Ave. South, New York, NY 10010; American Demographics, P.O. Box 68, Ithaca, NY 14851-0068)
— By Erling Jorstad