Brand Wariness

Several blogs have addressed this issue already very adequately, but something I saw today that made me want to give it another look. I’m talking about the quickly growing trendiness of the “Jesus is my Homeboy” t-shirts and the like.

Celebrites have been caught donning the gear, and many Christians have taken to wearing them as well. If you’ve been reading my website for any time at all, you’ll probably guess rightly that I find kitsch like this tantamount to taking the Lord’s name in vain.

A Wall Street Journal article [subsctiption req.] examining the trend quoted a trend expert:

“Religion in its own way has become a brand, and right now it’s hot,” says Jane Buckingham, president of Youth Intelligence, a New York trend-forecasting company. But before too long, fashion-conscious teens and the retail buyers who cater to them may move on to the next thing, Ms. Buckingham warns.

The success of branding as a marketing tool has definitely overflowed into many Christian circles (if you don’t believe me, then maybe your thinking isn’t Purpose Driven® enough).

We really do need to be careful here. The goal of branding in marketing is to make people have a postive feeling about the brand so that anything that the brand produces is bought by the consumer, irrespective of the individual product. Loyalty is conferred upon the brand, not to the quality of product. The product is hence diminished because the brand overshadows it.

The “Jesus is my Homeboy” fad won’t last long. We can bank on that. But if we who follow Jesus fall into this trap, we risk diminishing the one who will not accept the diminishing of his glory.