Anna and I were watching some TV last week when a commercial came on for Bounce Fabric Softener. It was one of those commercials where the woman of the house (all in cartoon of course) was looking for that last item that would spruce up her life and change the way her house operated. And the answer she was looking for was “Bounce.”
Anna looked at me and in a frustrated way shared that this commercial appeared to be demeaning to women and who would buy this product? After some thought I shared that with all the marketing out there and our ability to turn off (in our minds) the commercials that “yell” at us that most companies have turned to advertising to niche groups and not to the masses and perhaps this commercial, as degrading as it was to you, was probably perfect for someone else (mainly one in that world of stay at home, make your house perfect type of lifestyle). Of course for us, spending our money on fabric softener isn’t exactly something we want to use our disposable income on, but for someone else it might be the best thing since sliced bread. That’s when it hit me that these commercials and maybe most commercials are not for me, they are for someone else competing for products in a totally different market.
I was thinking of this in light of the church and marketing and how personally I have beeen adverse to doing any sort of marketing/ awareness of our little church community. But I realized it is because most church marketing that I have seen has been to the “church” folk. People who buy fabric softener, so to speak. But there is a total group of people out there (which include the people in the open house and our friends in the neighbourhood) that would totally block out that sort of ad, because it is obviously not for them.
So I guess what I am saying is that I think a type of “new marketing” needs to take place in our faith communities that make up a minority and have their own niche. A marketing that makes people aware of faith groups that are welcoming, non-de-script in their structure, but are active in their community, participating and transforming their communities with good works.
To be honest I haven’t seen any “church” ads in the mail of late and for all I know they may have changed their “tactic,” but the truth is our model and message (Sunday gatherings for example) is an advertisement to the fullest. So how do we celebrate the good of what our churches are doing, to connect and welcome others to participate with us, without labeling the “message” as not for them or irrelevant, because whatever clever, outward message you advertise on the outside with be thwarted if it is nothing like what you are about on the inside.
So with this I am now seeing the connect. The outside and the inside need to connect if you wish to draw people in and get them excited about what you are doing. People who buy Bounce probably have a similar culture in their homes as other Bounce buyers, but how many people do you know that have different values and a different home buy Bounce and then realize that even though the advertisement was clever it really doesn’t fit with they way they run their household? I’m guessing these people never buy it again.
In and amongst this rambling and I am requesting something. Those that are familiar with the open house and what we are currently involved in, I am asking you to send me your thoughts on what a new wave of marketing might look like in a community like ours. Not just the message, but the method as well. I would like to work on some ideas toward a campaign that allows us to be true to who we are and want to be, but be able to reach out into our neighbourhood and welcome some of those that share values and want to better their neighbourhood with us. This will involve both an analysis of what we currently “do” and who we want to “become.” The mediums (like our Sunday night meal, book studies and outreaches) for sharing that hope will be critical in the process.
So share your ideas here, or email me at kyle AT theopenhouse.ca
I’m excited for your ideas.