Spiritual Marketing

A friend of mine, Miguel Enriquez, when commenting earlier posts on Facebook, introduced me to a new term today that I haven’t heard before: “Spiritual Marketing” and showed me the company ‘Amega Global’ (1) as its best example. This subject definitely was worth a post!

“Spiritual Marketing” is basically focusing products, services and marketing strategies on the human need of personal well-being, health and wealth in a balance with the world. In other words, it sells the idea we have the power of achievement. The term might be new, but the concept is one of the oldest ones. The first human that convinced others that he was sent by the Gods to bring well-being to the community and to achieve the group’s greatness was using Spiritual Marketing. Although authors like Joe Vitale and Bob Proctor say it is not “religious marketing”, and describe spirit as “the presence within of the universal spirit...the true self.” (2), their theory IS based in beliefs. I won’t get into terms (especially with these guys) but what I find interesting is: why are companies just now using “Spiritual Marketing”? Here are my thoughts on it:

1. We feel we are a suffering society. Stress, recession, wars, unemployment, cancer, HIV, weather changes... APOCALYPSE! Do I need to say more? But if you think about it, would you prefer living in another era? War has always existed even with more cruelty, poverty and hunger have been worst, not to say dieses and health conditions. Our own human regrets take Apocalyptical dimensions. We suffer because of what we should be, because of not achieving the potential and the illusions we have created.

2. We search reconciliation with our environment and with ourselves… quick , easy and in control. “I want to change the world, without leaving the sofa.” “I want to become beautiful on the inside, by buying a skin cream.” (no kidding, look at Amega). We want fast solutions but not many people really want to change their behaviors in order to get them. “It’s as easy as thinking positively”. We also like to feel we are in control, that we are not entirely lost and there is something we can do about life with our own decisions, overcoming doubt, fear, anxiety. “If I really, really want it, I’m going to become a millionaire”.

3. We have a need to believe… in something… in anything. All religions are in crisis, from pederasts to fundamentalism, no religion is exempt. Since Darwin and prevailing western scientific thought all religions have become a question of faith and dogma and it has become hard to conciliate lines of thought. Never before have we known all religious options, what we could like or dislike about them. Never before have we given colloquial uses to what were sacred tools or knowledge, from Tarot to Astrology. We mix ideas according to what suits us best in a new age eclecticism of free thinkers. The truth is we like some kind of guide, and we are not sure what to believe, which can be really dangerous. Not only are we vulnerable to “magic formulas”, money gurus, pseudoscience and esotericism, but even to cults. Watch out for Heaven’s Gate!

4. We have a need to leave reality. Mike Enriquez said “American Global” seemed as if they read Harry Potter and decided to do a company, selling magical wands - and he is not far away from the truth. I think “Spiritual Marketing” DOES come to solve the same needs as fantasy literature and cinema. Art is often a reflection of what we are or what we want to be. Surrealism emerged in the period after World War I (and Freud’s studies also helped). In our difficult days, it’s no wonder J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of The Rings, Narnia and Harry Potter lived a commercial boom. We wan't a different reality.

Is it ethically correct to take advantage of these needs in order to create new products, services and marketing strategies? I think it is, as long as you DO satisfy the need without lying about your offerings and without harming others. The line between being ethical and being deceitful is really thin. All products sell intangible benefits: you can become smarter, you gain more status, you will have more friends. Intangible benefits are hard to measure and are based on the user’s own perception. Designers play with this intangible assets all the time, it’s part of our job. As for myself I’ve used the “mind-body balance” advertising campaign for a client who owns a gym (www.vibebalance.com), but I am sure doing exercise does represent a tangible body benefit that does bring a positive mental shift.

So it’s basically consumer’s responsibility to know the rights from the wrongs. How can you tell if you are bio-energized and not just perceiving you are bio-energized? It’s like Dumbo’s feather (remember the big eared elephant that needed its token to fly?). As consumers we are protected by law against “unsatisfied” promises and false advertisement. On August 28 2010, el Tigre Toño de Zucaritas (Tony the Tiger form Kellog’s Frosties) and Nestle’s Pancho Pantera de Chocomilk were sued because of deceitful advertisement. TV ads explicitly say kids are going to grow bigger and stronger while characters play all kind of sports.

I’ll finish this post with some recommendations any Latin American that has walked around a local “mercado” and has been harassed by the market’s witches and santeras, knows. Beware of this kind of people:

“Charlatanes” – those who talk gibberish. Most of them don’t send a clear message and use terms that are not easily understood. Let me quote Amega’s web site: “Amega's products are an offshoot of Ancient natural therapeutic wisdom and applying Futuristic Technology in the Area of Quantum Physics to support Individuals with Natural Energies to eliminate stress and increase their immunity.” In other words, mix Isaac Asimov with Nezahualcoyotl with Elizabeth Arden… and there you go.

“Ocultistas” – those who tease us with mystery but do not tell anything worthy before you pay, as if hiding something. They also use signs and symbols that could attribute some un-revealed meaning, like the masonic emblem I used in the upper picture. I remember reading the back cover of the book “The Secret” before I knew what it was about and it said absolutely nothing about the book but assured it was the key to happiness. For those who don’t know the book or the movie I’ll resume it for you without charging you a dime: Think positively and positive things will happen. The book is a best-seller.

“Hace-Milagritos” – miracle workers, those who won’t logically argue their point of view and attribute it to ancient cultural knowledge, divine powers, un-studied properties of rare species or plain faith. They often refer to their own theories as “laws” or “formulas”. You have to learn: if it’s too good to be true, it probably is. People who are sure of what they predict should even like to be questioned because that is the way to improve their own knowledge.

There are a lot of things we still don’t know or understand. We do not own the truth and we should be open to new ideas. Some ideas or products will work for us, some will work only for others. Maybe Amega’s products have found a way to make some people actually happy. Maybe “The Secret” book and movie have changed lives in a positive way. Maybe I’m the one harming the world with my criticism, although I do believe in the law of attraction. I’ll also grant that those using “Spiritual Marketing” are being smart and making money. I told Mike Enriquez we should leave our jobs and start selling candles and saints!

I think we should be careful of what we acknowledge through advertisement and be aware on what we spend our money in, especially with intangible benefits in hard times (that’s what they depend upon)… just some Spiritual Finances against Spiritual Marketing.

(1) Amega’s Web Site. http://www.eamega.com/en/mission-a-vision-international.html

(2) Vitale, Joe and Proctor, Bob (2001) Spiritual Marketing, A Proven 5-Step Formula for

Easily Creating Wealth from theInside Out.


(3) Image of Brujo at Mercado Arguelles, Tamaulipas, México.Taken from:


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