It seems that a post I wrote a while back on the ethics of marketing religion to kids has attracted quite a bit of attention.
Look guys, I just reckon marketing, religion and kids shouldn’t mix.
It comes down to:
1. Kids minds are not fully formed and their thoughts are easily influenced.
2. Some services and products are best left to adults to decide rather than forced on kids with the knowledge it will have a lasting impact. (Circumcision, especially female circumcision, is an example – and religious belief is another).
3.Religions should not be forced on anyone (this is a human rights issue) yet we know that kids introduced and encouraged at a young age to participate in a particular sect, will tend to remain there. “Show me the boy at 7…”
4. Therefore creating marketing programmes which explicitly target kids ) is ethically wrong in my view. Adult marketing doesn’t bother me nearly as much.
It’s an extreme and tragic situation, but as proof that religion can distort parents and kids’ decision making faculties, check out the following tragic case where religious parents have just decided that chemotherapy is against their religious beliefs. So they are letting their son die instead. The son (who was brainwashed by religion nice and early) agrees with is parents and will die unless he gets treatment, in which case he will live. Oh, and they’ve done a runner.
At some point, this kid had his parents’ religion pitched to him, so much so that he’s prepared to die rather than listen to science and logic. That’s dark marketing.
But that’s someone else’s strange religion isn’t it? For anyone who believes that damage can’t happen when our traditional (Christian) religous sects interact with kids – you can’t be serious ,can you?
At some point, these kids were taught by repetition to accept the authority of the church and its franchise managers. That’s dark branding at work.
And I don’t mean to be rude, but what about God himself? He used to be pretty happy with a bit of child abuse – how about telling Abraham to whack Isaac??? Not nice. Luckily He changed His mind – phew, that’s OK then!
Well, here God is expressing his BRAND VALUES. That’s marketing. A bit “Harley Davidson” rebel I suppose…
OK back to the main point which is that when you have serious risks to kids physical and emotional wellbeing, great branding and marketing can still create harm in the real world. So can tobacco marketing…
And I think that’s unethical marketing. What do you think?