Tuesday, January 13, 2009

8 Further Examples of Pop Culture-Themed Religious Flair

NOTE: Part Three in a series. Here's Part One & Part Two.

Starbucks Jesus

Decent, if only because the designer took the time to make the Jesus look pretty damn close to the mermaid that lives inside the Starbucks logo. So close, in fact, that people will see this on your Facebook flair page and go, "Mmmm... yeah, I agree with that piece of flair entirely," and then they'll take a closer look and say, "Oh, wow, I just meant I could go for a latte but... well... I guess I believe in God now. You tricked me, Christians!" It's a tactic known as "The Sneaky Conversion" and it's the devout version of cigarette companies using Joe Camel to make kids think smoking is cool. (there's also a deplorable sex act called "The Stinky Conversion;" you should REALLY be on you guard against that one, as it is much worse)

YouTube God

A classic example of the religious community taking a recognizable bit of graphic design and making it their own without any regard towards the greater social commentary missing from their message. What does repurposing the YouTube logo to a holy end have to do with watching videos on the internet? Nothing. There's nothing clever about this piece of flair; it's just cynical propaganda along the lines of, "kids will recognize the logo and be drawn to it, thus they will be drawn to Jesus because they will think he is cool." This is EVER MORE SO the aforementioned Joe Camel thing, but it's actually even worse because using sleazy advertising techniques to aide a "good" cause is like throwing handgrenades to promote peace on Earth.

Reese's Jesus

I nearly left this piece of flair out because, at first glance, it's the same sort of brainless agitprop as the YouTube one, HOWEVER... on closer inspection... there's a lot more going on here than I initially thought. Forget the awkward Reese's-to-Jesus switch and ignore the pseudo-thorny crown at the bottom... look at what is happening in the middle. There are two words there, faintly: "Sweet Savior." Now, look, I'm not stupid... I know that in theory they're using the duality of the word "sweet" to play off the candy logo concept, as well as to infer that Jesus is "pure, kind, etc." That's all well and good. But they're also shooting themselves in the foot because, in actual application, that duality ends up being less clever and more creepy. Using food-centric words when talking about the intake of religion implies that it (religion) is a life-sustaining force; something we NEED, as opposed to something we ENJOY. While there are those out there that believe this is the case, a lot of people... myself included... find that sort of rhetoric a major turn-off. Particularly if you're trying to win people over to your flock, implying that Jesus is sweet, delicious, and all the candy you'll ever need is just going to make people think you're a freak. There should be a distinct separation between church and snacking.

American Idol Jesus

Topical, as tonight is the season premier of American Idol. And, bonus points... it's a singing competition and you used a religious song title in your logo reappropriation. A nice harmony (see what I did there) of concept and execution. If this piece of flair were being judged in the early rounds of said reality show, it would be sent on to Hollywood and pitted against other pieces of flair in a grueling two-day flair-off where it would either move up to the Big Show, or be called "a disaster" by a mean British man and we'd see it crying in the hallway before never hearing from it again. Analogy sufficiently tortured? Okay, good. Moving on.

T.G.I. Friday's God

Lousy, as God has nothing to do with potato skins or jalapeno poppers. However, grand scheme, this is actually pretty awesome, if only in an entirely meta way. To wit: It's a piece of flair for an internet application, reappropriated to a religious end, using the logo of the place where the concept of actual, physical flair WAS INVENTED and, thus, was the inspiration for the application found on the internet. Full circle, man. Did I just blow your MIND???

F.R.O.G. God

This piece of flair is completely unique because, unless I'm way out of touch with the kids these days, it appears to be trying to actually CREATE it's own pop cultural reference. It doesn't entirely work, of course... frogs don't have anything to do with religion, unless you're talking "a plague of," and I doubt that's what they meant... but you can tell the designers of this flair were thinking to themselves, "The happiest day of my life will be when I hear my fourteen year old daughter say to one of her friends, 'I don't need drugs, I just F.R.O.G.'"

Tweety Love Jesus

I never knew that Tweety Bird had such strong ecclesiastical leanings and, to tell you the truth, I'm sure the good folks over at Warner Bros. would be surprised to hear it as well. Not that they would SUE the creators of this piece of flair or anything... same goes for all the other companies who's logos get flipped in the name of the Lord. Suing religious people for doing religious things is the PR equivalent of playing Russian roulette with a fully loaded gun. You can't win, plus some religious folk aren't shy about inferring that you, Mr. Fancy Lawyer man, are ACTUALLY Satan and maybe someone should bomb your house, or at the very least start hucking bricks at it for a few weeks. Nobody needs that kind of hassle.

Fed-Ex Is Against Satan

Besides the message not having even the slightest thing to do with overnight package delivery, this piece of flair is terrible because... look... if you're only "fed up" with Satan, then it stands to reason that you're not the best person to be out there proselytizing. "Yeah, that Satan... what a pain in the butt. Always being evil and poking people with his pitchfork and damning souls to Hell. I tell ya, I'm just FED UP with that guy. I mean, I have had it!!!" Doesn't really carry a lot of the gravitas so essential to scaring the pants off of people in an effort to get them on board with the cause. Then again, you might want to consider abandoning the whole "pushing Jesus through pieces of flair" idea all together and maybe just go do some charity work. Serve at a night shelter or help build a home with Habitat for Humanity. Seems like those would be much better ways to get your point across.


Anonymous ML said...

Let's face it, the whole "scaring the pants off of people in an effort to get them on board with the cause" never worked with religion either. That's why most people don't take their religion seriously. It just makes them joke about
"Catholic guilt." So ... I guess the flair was the next best thing. :)

12:12 PM  
Blogger Braden said...


"Yeah, chief?"

"My office! NOW!"

"What's up?"

"Satan, you mind tellin' me why I got the King of Kings and half of City Hall up my ass? Somethin' about a car chase through an explosives factory? Millions a' dollars in damages? Tempting Eve to eat from the Tree of Knowledge? Ring any bells?!"

"Aw, chief--"

"Aw, chief, nothin! If I so much as hear one more peep outta you, I'll bust your goat-footed ass down to sergeant so fast it'll make your horns spin! Do you get me, Satan?"

"Yes, Chief."

"Good! Now get the hell outta my face!"

(A pause, then Detective Satan and the Chief share a good laugh.)

10:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

YOU are a horrible person to be feeding information to people like this. Ugh. People like you have damned our younger generation. JESUS IS GOOD. ALL DAY EVERYDAY(:

10:14 PM  

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