DAILY CATHOLIC     MONDAY     July 26, 1999     vol. 10, no. 138

from a CATHOLIC perspective

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Need for God attested in Advertising Agency Survey

          ROME, JUL 23 (ZENIT).- Research published by Brand Futures Group, an affiliate of the Young & Rubicam advertising agency, has discovered that there is widespread desire to believe and an awakening of the sacred among our contemporaries, stating that it is not just a "Jubilee syndrome."

          The experts questioned a sample of 15,580 "trendsetters" in six countries: the United States, Italy, Great Britain, France, Germany and the Netherlands. Brand Futures Group describes the sample as those who belong to that 10% of the population that the marketing geniuses consider "individuals who are self-assured, pointed to the future, interested, unconventional people, able to pick up the vibes of the time in which they live and, as a result, point to the future trend."

          The survey showed that the trendsetters expressed an interest in religion that was higher than the average in their respective countries.

          To the question, "Does religion play an important part in your life?" 59.4% of those questioned in the United States, and 48.8% of Italians responded positively, as opposed to the Dutch (28.7%), Germans (23.4%), English (19.7%) and French (16.1%). Moreover, many Americans (41.5%) and Italians (36.4%) responded affirmatively to the statement that "The world was literally created in six days, exactly as the Bible states."

          "For many years devotion to organized religion has registered a decline in a great part of the industrialized world; today there are clear proofs that the wave of religious interest is returning," states the report.

          "To profess a religious creed during the 70s and 80s was quite unpopular in many Western countries," the marketing experts assert. For example, Jimmy Carter's devotion damaged his image more than Bill Clinton's sexual adventures have damaged his own.

          Now, however, the report goes on, "it is really possible for a personality to be religious and trendy." This was reflected in English Prime Minister Tony Blair's electoral victory in 1997; he declared his religious belief in public.

          According to Stuart Harris, Assistant Director of Brand Futures Europe, "God has returned, and those involved in marketing should direct their radar to religion."

          Some elements of the media also seem to be aware of a change in regard to religion. Incredibly, the French newspaper "Le Monde," which has not been very sympathetic to the religious world, and much less shared ideas expressed by churches, has decided to publish a series of portraits of good and evil "geniuses of Christianity." Among those included so far are Jesus Christ, Francis of Assisi, Ignatius of Loyola and, in today's edition, Teresa of Avila.

          Even though the marketing wizards analysis reveals a change, it may be superficial. Although it is true that there is a return to religion, the phenomenon is full of confusion, as can readily be seen in the widespread proliferation of phenomena like "New Age" and "Next Age." Religion may not be "out," but in its traditional forms, cannot be said to be wholly "in," either. ZE99072307

          Meanwhile, in New York, former Presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter, Generals Norman Schwarzkopf and Colin Powell, Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel, and many Congressmen have appealed to Hollywood to reduce the violence and sex in films. The media has been requested to establish a code of conduct. The appeal was made to the American Movie Association, the record industry, radio and television networks, and companies like Walt Disney, Nintendo, Time, Warner and Sony. ZE99072305

Articles provided through Catholic World News and Church News at Noticias Eclesiales and International Dossiers, Daily Dispatches and Features at ZENIT International News Agency. CWN, NE and ZENIT are not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provide this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

July 26, 1999       volume 10, no. 138


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