Smells Like Teen Marketing

tomorrowsworld.org Are young people just another demographic, waiting for advertisers to sell them on the latest consumer goods, lifestyles—or religions? As I read the comics one recent morning, a strip caught my eye. Its first panel showed a young man skateboarding, talking about something exciting: “Its totally awesome, dude!” The third panel revealed the punch line: the skateboarder was in a commercial trying to get kids to invest in the stock market. The last panel showed two teenagers watching the commercial, as one said to the other: “I hate the way they all pander to our generation.” This reminded me of a huge billboard I used to see during my daily commute in Dallas, Texas. It, too, showed a skateboarder—and featured a similarly blatant attempt at pandering to a market: “Look! This is cool! Check it out, teens!” That billboard, however, was advertising a church. There is nothing wrong with a church helping all generations see how Gods word is relevant in their lives. But, like the teenage protagonist in our comic strip, I am tired of seeing churches pander to teens and young adults. “Hey, teens—our church is radical! Look, theres a guy on a skateboard! You teens like skateboarding, right? And hey, look! A picture of a guy playing an electric guitar! All you young people like rocking out like our middle-aged marketing execs said you do, right? Awesome, dude!” Please! Such condescending appeals risk two dangerous consequences. First, they may cause exactly the
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