Belief Systems

Caught a story yesterday on NPR’s Morning Edition about a new marketing strategy for the good book: the Green Bible.  It’s recyclable and comes wrapped in a cotton-linen cover sporting a green tree.  NPR quotes a minister who is excited by the, uh, breakthrough:

“Did Jesus say anything about recycling? Did God care what we do with the earth? These are the existing conversations that are emerging that I think The Green Bible contributes to,” says Smith.

The SVP on the project at HarperOne gets even more ironic in a promo video:

“There should no longer be questions about … should Christians … care about the planet.”

Right.  Because that was clearly a hot debate before Harper came to the rescue by highlighting the word ‘earth’ in green soy-based ink for $29.95.

Turns out it’s not really the first attempt to greenwash scripture; you can even buy a solar-powered audio bible.  But it’s the most overt offering in the space to date, endorsed by celebs and organizations both secular and spiritual.  TIME calls it “scripture for the Prius age.”

We can laugh at the irony or point fingers at the marketing ploys, but what’s really interesting here is the partnership between two of the most complex and internally conflicted meta brands on the planet: Green and God.  Undoubtedly, it will play.  It will build more latent awareness and support for green, and at the same time will probably further confuse and complicate.  It ultimately represents a growing demand for green symbols to work into the personal brands of individual identities.

Convergence is always messy.  I’m not here to pass judgment.

© Ryan Cunningham 2008

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thoughts at the collision of business, brand and creativity

I'm Ryan Cunningham. I help companies and culture play nice with each other. At CREATURE we call this Brand Strategy, a term that carries a nice halo of reliability and structure. Here, I'm just another guy who thinks about the world and writes it down from time to time.

The result is a pile of knowledge to be used in, and for, the future. Feel free to sift through the heap for useful connections.

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