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General News    H4'ed 12/17/09

The Objects of Our Devotion: Spiritual-Need Marketing

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"I totally don't know what it means. But I want it."

Jessica Simpson

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A survey was just conducted to gauge the religious and spiritual propensities of Americans. As one might have guessed without having spent all the money and time, we are a fairly religious country. Diversely so, but religious nonetheless. The vast majority of Americans believe in a Supreme Being or higher power whom they call God.

So where did the road bend and twist? When did Americans go from a devotion to God to a devotion to things? In advertising circles, which is essentially the crank shaft of our economy, it is a truism that the American is a demanding consumer. "Give us what we want," is the credo. But it appears that what they want is a product. We have gone from one nation under God to one nation under Wal-Mart. We worry about extending youth and bodily life instead of considering the importance of making our limited time here meaningful. And the worst part as I see it and the point of this article is that we have come to believe that meaning and having are, if not entirely equal, then at least run parallel. This is a profound and pervasive delusion that is also both simultaneously destructive and systematically distracting. So much so that corporations have put their billions into marketing campaigns that specifically target and capitalize on these delusions.

The delusions are:

1) The product can save me.

2) The product has meaning and therefore can give my life meaning.

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3) The product can help me belong to a tribe.

4) The product or service or brand can make me lovable.

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Judith Acosta is a licensed psychotherapist, author, and speaker. She is also a classical homeopath based in New Mexico. She is the author of The Next Osama (2010), co-author of The Worst is Over (2002), the newly released Verbal First Aid (more...)
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