August 10, 2010

Marketing Woo for Weight-Loss

Weight lossCNN recently ran a story about religious believers turning to their god for help losing weight. Instead of commenting on how ridiculous that sounds, I'm going to take another tact and suggest that this is pure genius. Really.
Using the Lord's name (not in vain), fitness and diet enthusiasts are injecting the Almighty into nutrition programs, exercise DVDs, martial arts and healthy living courses.
This is not about effective weight-loss; it is a marketing strategy and an effective one at that. With all the Christians in the U.S., injecting Christianspeak into exercise videos, books, and virtually everything else is a no-brainer. As long as we recognize that the goal behind this is turning a profit, we can admire the clever marketing strategy.

The problem is that CNN and others in the mainstream news media almost never acknowledge that this is woo (i.e., there is no evidence that exercise videos containing Christianspeak are any more effective than those that do not). They present stories like this as if they are something other than an approach to marketing a product. The line between news and infomercial blurs, and the viewer comes away less likely to question what they have seen.