As I posted last week, Jeff Hawkin’s, the the ex-$cientologist responsible for $cientology’s marketing in the 80s and their volcano commercial from the 90’s, has just published a book criticizing the cult. But while Hawkins was actually quite good at his job, it seems the latest crop of in-house $cientology marketers seem to suck at it.
The cult is back with a new commercial where they promise immortality and tell viewers they “are invited. Well another former marketing chief for the organization, Steve Hall.thinks he knows why these commercials will fail to win more converts:
The challenge of trying to market Dianetics and Scientology is probably one of the most difficult assignments in the world. They are not thought of well. There’s a lot of suspicion and controversy. Most of that is generated from within because of the way the leader of the church has dealt with people, such as issues to do with internet copyright. They do a lot of lawsuits. They run full-page ads in USA Today attacking Eli Lilly (LLY) [which makes antidepressants, which Scientology opposes]. It makes people stand back. Time magazine wrote them up as a “mafia-like” organization. How do you create a want for that? It’s an almost impossible challenge.
And when the cult’s secrecy was mentioned as an obstacle, Hall responded:
It’s not deliberate. It’s just inept marketing. I think they don’t have a clue what they are doing. I’ve worked at the top ranks of management, shoulder to shoulder. They all worry constantly about the big problem that nobody understands them. But for other reasons they have not been effective at all at communicating what they do, what their beliefs are and so forth. They’re not deliberately keeping it a secret. It’s a more simple problem than that. A lot of organizations that do their own in-house marketing, they eat the product, breathe the product, 24/7, and they lose their objectivity and they don’t know how to connect with people outside. Compounding that, [founder L. Ron] Hubbard wrote in the 1970s and ’80s a few policies on how the church was to do their marketing. There’s nothing wrong with what he wrote, but that marketing know-how is circa 1975. As any creative person knows, marketing has grown by light years since 1975. By today’s standards those methods are terrible.
So thanks for the invitation, $cientology, but no thanks.