Monday, December 07, 2009

Down with consumerism! Buy this to find out how!

So here's part of a promotional email I got promoting the "Advent Conspiracy". I think the point is great- "spend less money, give more presence." Their promos are real slick too. However, I can't help but relish the irony of this. "Fed up with consumerism"- what like, email advertisement blasts? Links to "buy now"?

"Spend less"...except for buying this small group DVD of course. C'mon guys.


Dad said...

I ordered the complete package. Once I took your Christmas gifts back, I could actually afford the DVD.

Professor RJ Gumby said...

Leave it to Christians to develop a metaphysical quandry. But then again, I still think we underestimate the idea of fund raising through selling indulgences.

Nice shot from your dad...

Tony Biaggne said...

Good morning,

My name is Tony Biaggne, and I serve as the Creative Director for Advent Conspiracy. One of my friends forwarded me your blog post about [AC], and I wanted to take a moment to respond to your criticism.

First off, I think this ad is pretty misleading. Keep in mind that we do not get to decide how these ads are displayed or what copy is used. I can see how this ad could be misleading.

But that's advertising for you. I would hope that no one bases their entire impression of a product or organization just because of an ad. What?!? We can't trust advertising? What a shock...

Advent Conspiracy is not against consumerism. Not one bit. We aren't down with "the man" or anything like that. If you check out our website or Facebook page and read our posts you'd get that pretty clearly (especially the blog post on our site where I encourage folks to go shopping on Black Friday). What we ARE against is this idea of HYPER consumerism, ie, this idea that buying hoards of gifts will somehow complete us or bring the true meaning of Christmas into our lives. We are tired of people going into massive amounts of debt just to try to have a "happy" Christmas. It just doesn't work. But gifts and gift buying is absolutely ok!

So, why the book and DVD? Well, quite simply, we created these resources because of the thousands of people who were wanting to know how their family, friends, small group and church can do this holistically. It was a product of response, and we don't apologize for that. What we celebrate is that Zondervan agreed to donate a portion of the proceeds of each sale of the book and DVD to clean water initiatives around the world. It was the only way the authors would agree to write a book. Our movement is an open source movement, as in, everything we offer is free with the exception of the book and dvd. All our videos, posters, logo use. Trust me, we've invested MUCH more into these resources than we would ever possibly make on the book. We do this because we believe the story of Christ is that important.

But even still, [AC] isn't about clean water. In the end, [AC] is about making Christmas a time where we really dive into the story of Christ's birth and the revolution it created. We invite people to enter this scandalous story and make it personal. Thousands of people from around the world have done this, which has resulted in millions of dollars raised for clean water initiatives. More importantly though, it's brought them into a true time of worship during the Advent season.

If I can, I would like to invite you to learn more about us before you critique us. We are, after all, brothers in Christ and we should be supporting each other as such! I get that it's easy to make knee jerk impressions (trust me, I've done my fair share!), but honestly, we're called to a higher standard than that. How powerful would it be if you would've taken a critical eye at how misleading the ad, and respond to that? If that WAS your intention, I apologize. Maybe I didn't read your post correctly.

Anyways, thanks for allowing me to share my thoughts. I wish you well with your ministry.


Tony Biaggne
Creative Director
Advent Conspiracy