The Real Agenda of Advertising & God’s Counter-Narrative

The goal of advertising is to convince you that you need something that is non-essential to your survival. 100% of commercials are about non-necessities. Why? Who has to advertise something everyone actually has to buy to survive? Right? So by the very nature of commercials, they are trying to sell you something you can live without, otherwise they wouldn’t need to advertise it because you would have to purchase it eventually anyway. The trick in advertising is to take these non-essentials and make them appear to be essential.

The underlying narrative of some advertising is that we aren’t good enough unless with have X, Y, and Z. They are selling a narrative, often even more than they are selling a product. That narrative is often that you haven’t made it until you dress like this, own this, or drive that. That is how they make these things appear to be essential when they aren’t.

God tells us we have inherent value apart from the products we own. We are made in the image of God. What is more God also tells us that he has already provided everything we actually need! Christian – you are redeemed by the blood of Christ. Nothing is more important than the love God has for you. Bottom line – God is enough. God satisfies. So we find contentment only through Christ…in spite of the messages of discontent the world sends us every minute of every day.


About mattdabbs
I am a minister, husband, and father. My wife and I live and minister in Saint Petersburg, Florida. My primary ministry responsibilities include: small groups, 20s and 30s, involvement, and adult education.

3 Responses to The Real Agenda of Advertising & God’s Counter-Narrative

  1. From your title, I thought you were going someplace else with this, so I’ll go there instead. If advertising is only about trying to sell someone something non-essential because they would obtain it otherwise then why are we told to advertise Christ?

    Mat 28:19 KJV
    (19) Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

    Rom 10:13-14 KJV
    (13) For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
    (14) How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

    1Co 1:18 KJV
    (18) For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

    Sometimes advertising might tell us about something we need in order to survive.

    • mattdabbs says:

      The point of the post was about commercial advertisers, not about how we communicate the Gospel. That would be the difference. We can certain communicate/advertise (which means to make something publicly known) things that ARE needed to survive. When the world advertises, that is not normally the case.

    • mattdabbs says:

      You bring up an interesting parallel that I hadn’t thought of…the similarities in the Greek for proclaiming the gospel and the word advertise – to make something known publicaly.

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