Samuel Gil-Soldevilla e-mail(Login required) , José-Antonio Palao-Errando e-mail(Login required) , Javier Marzal-Felici e-mail(Login required)

Main Article Content


Samuel Gil-Soldevilla e-mail(Login required)
José-Antonio Palao-Errando e-mail(Login required)
Javier Marzal-Felici e-mail(Login required)


This article explores advertising as a space where spiritual discourses are reproduced from the critical approach of academics in communication and sociology, along with professionals in the advertising sector. Therefore, a qualitative methodology of semi-structured interviews with a panel of fifteen experts was used. This research aims to develop a discourse derived from the interviewee’s experience of the meaning provided by advertising as a transcendent dimension. The interviews were analysed by applying a spiral model by simple induction. The study identifies a compensatory character between brands and religions based on a functional definition of the latter, where brands have acquired the ability to construct social meaning, offer an existential programme to the individual, and arouse identity and awareness through their own narration. Without disregarding the economic objective of corporations or the different levels of transcendence expressed by brands and religious forms, there is consensus on advertising’s attempt to follow the same scheme of adhesion, claims, symbology, and evocations offered by religions, assuming a post-materialist turn of the advertising discourse towards transcendental values, even superficially or banally. The list of interviewees and the use of this technique, which has not previously been applied to the interactions between advertising discourse and spirituality, provide an original perspective on this emerging study field


Advertising, expert panel, brand, spiritual contents, semi-structured interview, transcendent industry


Atkin, D. (2008). El secreto de las marcas. [The secret of brands]. Barcelona: Robinbook.

Baccega, M. A. (2012). Comunicación y culturas del consumo. [Communication and consumer cultures]. Sevilla: Comunicación social.

Belk, R. W. & Tumbat, G. (2005). The Cult of Macintosh. Consumption Markets & Culture, 8(3), 205-217.

Belk, R. W., Wallendorf, M. & Sherry, Jr., J. F. (1989). The Sacred and the Profane in Consumer Behavior: Theodicy on the Odyssey. Journal of Consumer Research, 16(1), 1.

Berganza Conde, M. R. & Ruiz San Román, J. A. (2005). Investigar en Comunicación. Guía práctica de métodos y técnicas de investigación social en Comunicación. [Research in communication. Practical guide to methods and social research techniques in Communication]. Madrid: McGraw-Hill.

Besecke, K. (2010). Seeing Invisible Religion: Religion as societal conversation about transcendent meaning. In S. Aupers & D. Houtman (Eds.), Religions of Modernity: Relocating the Sacred to the Self and the Digital (pp. 89-114). Leiden: Brill.

Bourne, G. (1981). Meaning, image and ideology. Form and Meaning, 1(4), Milton Keynes: Open University.

Caro, A. (1994). La publicidad que vivimos. [The advertising we experience]. Madrid: Eresma.

Cernat, M. (2014). The Role of Religion in Advertising: Case-study on the “Batman” TV Commercial. Journal for the Study of Religions and Ideologies, 13(39), 140-163.

Díaz-Salazar, R. (1994). Formas modernas de religión. [Modern forms of religion]. (R. DíazSalazar, S. Giner & F. Velasco, Eds.). Madrid: Alianza.

Dotson, M. J. & Hyatt, E. M. (2000). Religious symbols as peripheral cues in advertising: A replication of the elaboration likelihood model. Journal of Business Research, 48(1), 63- 68.

Douglas, G. (2015). I believe in a brand-new religion. In N. Kendall (Ed.), What is a 21st Century Brand? (pp. 83-97). London: Kogan Page.

Duch, L. (2012). Religión y Comunicación. [Religion and Communication]. Barcelona: Fragmenta.

Eguizábal, R. (2009). Industrias de la conciencia: una historia social de la publicidad en España (1975-2009). [Industries of awareness: a social history of advertising in Spain (1975- 2009)]. Barcelona: Península.

Essoo, N. & Dibb, S. (2004). Religious influences on shopping behaviour: An exploratory study. Journal of Marketing Management, 20(7), 683-712.

Fernández, J. D. (2003). La publicidad o los nombres del diablo. [Advertising or the names of the devil]. Comunicar. Revista Científica de Comunicación y Educación, 20, 178-183.

Gabriel, Y. & Lang, T. (1995). The Unmanageable Consumer. London: Sage.

Gaitán Moya, J. A. & Piñuel Raigada, J. L. (1998). Técnicas de investigación en comunicación social: elaboración y registro de datos. [Research techniques in social communication: design and recording of data]. Madrid: Síntesis.

Gil-Soldevilla, S. (2016). Estudio de caso publicitario: el empoderamiento de las divinidades femeninas y “La Diosa que hay en Ti.” [Advertising case study: The Empowerment of Feminine Deities and “The Goddess in You”]. SIGNA. Revista de La Asociación Española de Semiótica, 25, 609-630.

Gil-Soldevilla, S., Palao Errando, J. A. & Marzal Felici, J. J. (2014). Brands as New Forms of Religiosity: The Case of the World of Red Bull. Trípodos, 35, 57-74.

Grad, J. (2014). Religion, Advertising and Production of Meaning. Journal for the Study of Religions and Ideologies, 13(38), 137-154.

Haig, M. (2006). El Reinado de las marcas: cómo sobreviven y prosperan las 100 primeras marcas del mundo. [The Kingdom of brands: how the top 100 brands in the world survive and prosper]. Barcelona: Management 2000.

Hjarvard, S. (2008). The Mediatisation of Society: A Theory of the Media as Agents of Social and Cultural Change. Nordicom Review, 29(2), 105-134.

Hjarvard, S. (2011). The mediatisation of religion: Theorising religion, media and social change. Culture and Religion, 12(2), 119-135.

Hjarvard, S. (2016). Mediatisation and the changing authority of religion. Media, Culture & Society, 38(1), 8-17.

Hjarvard, S. & Lövheim, M. (2012). Mediatisation and Religion: Nordic Perspectives. Göteborg: Nordicom.

Huici Módenes, A. (2007). En busca del sentido perdido. De la religión y la utopía al paraíso del consumo. [In search of lost meaning. From religion and utopia to consumer paradise]. Questiones publicitarias: international magazine of communication and publicity, 1(12), 63-75.

Jhally, S. (1989). Advertising as religion: The dialectic of technology and magic. In I. Angus & S. Jhally (Eds.), Cultural politics in contemporary America (pp. 217-229). London: Routledge.

Klein, N. (2007). No Logo. Barcelona: Paidós.

Knauss, S. (2016). “Get to Know the Unknown”: Understanding Religion and Advertising. Journal of Media and Religion, 15(2), 100-112.

Kunde, J. (2000). Corporate Religion. London: Financial Times Prentice Hall.

Lenoir, F. (2003). Las Metamorfosis de Dios: la nueva espiritualidad occidental. [The metamorphosis of God: the new Western religion]. Madrid: Alianza.

León, J. L. (1988). La investigación en publicidad. Metodologías y Crítica. [Research on advertising. Methods and Critique]. Bilbao: Servicio editorial de la Universidad del País Vasco.

León, J. L. (1998). Mitoanálisis e ideología de la publicidad. [Mythoanalysis and ideology of advertising]. Comunicación y Cultura, 2(1), 65-78.

León, J. L. (2001). Mitoanálisis de la publicidad. [Mythoanalysis of advertising]. Barcelona: Ariel.

Lindstrom, M. (2009). Compradicción: verdades y mentiras de por qué las personas compran. [Shopping addiction: truth and lies about why people buy]. Bogotá: Norma.

Lindstrom, M. (2011). Así se manipula al consumidor. [This is how consumers are manipulated]. Barcelona: Management 2000.

Luckmann, T. (1973). La religión invisible: el problema de la religión en la sociedad moderna. [The invisible religion: the problem of religion in modern society]. Salamanca: Sígueme.

Maffesoli, M. (2001). El instante eterno. El retorno de lo trágico en las sociedades posmodernas. [The eternal instant. The return of tragedy in postmodern societies]. Barcelona: Paidós.

Maguire, B. (1998). The Secularisation of Religion and Television Commercials. Sociology of Religion, 59(2), 171-178.

Mallia, K. L. (2009). From the Sacred to the Profane: A Critical Analysis of the Changing Nature of Religious Imagery in Advertising. Journal of Media and Religion, 8(3), 172-190.

Marmor-Lavie, G. & Stout, P. A. (2016). Consumers’ Insights About Spirituality in Advertising. Journal of Media and Religion, 15(4), 169-185.

Marmor-Lavie, G., Stout, P. A. & Lee, W.-N. (2009). Spirituality in Advertising: A New Theoretical Approach. Journal of Media and Religion, 8(1), 1-23.

Mejía Navarrete, J. (2011). Problemas centrales del análisis de datos cualitativos. [Central problems of qualitative data analysis]. Revista Latinoamericana de Metodología de la Investigación Social, 1(1), 47-60.

Miles, M. & Huberman, M. (1984). Qualitative data analysis: a source book of new methods. Beverly Hills: Sage.

Nardella, C. (2012). Religious Symbols in Italian Advertising: Symbolic Appropriation and the Management of Consent. Journal of Contemporary Religion, 27(2), 217-240.

Ortiz Molina, M. A. (2011). Estamentos educativos y diferencias culturales. Estudio cualitativo de las opiniones de los diferentes sectores. [Educational estates and cultural differences. Qualitative study of opinions from different sectors]. Exedra: Revista Científica, 2, 147-206.

Pérez Tornero, J. M. (1992). La Seducción de la opulencia: publicidad, moda y consumo. [The seduction of opulence: advertising, fashion and consumption]. Barcelona: Paidós.

Pollay, R. W. (1986). The distorted mirror: Reflections on the unintended consequences of advertising. The Journal of Marketing, 4(1), 18-36.

Ragas, M. W. & Bueno, B. J. (2002). The Power of Cult Branding: How 9 Magnetic Brands Turned Customers into Loyal Followers (and Yours Can, Too). New York: Crown Business.

Rey, J. (2006). Publicidad y Religión. Semejanzas y diferencias entre el discurso publicitario y el discurso católico. [Advertising and Religion. Similarities and differences between advertising discourse and catholic discourse]. Trípodos, 18, 65-94.

Rinallo, D., Scoot, L. & Maclaran, P. (2012). Consumption and Spirituality. London: Routledge.

Rindfleisch, A., Wong, N. & Burroughs, J. E. (2010). God & Mammon: The influence of religiosity on brand connections. In S. H. K. Wuyts, M. G. Dekimpe, E. Gijsbrechts & R. Pieters (Eds.), The Connected Customer: The Changing Nature of Consumer and Business Markets (pp. 163-202). New York: Routledge.

Rushkoff, D. (2001). Coerción: por qué hacemos caso a lo que nos dicen. [Coercion: Why we listen to what we’re told]. Barcelona: La Liebre de Marzo.

Salmon, C. (2007). Storytelling: la máquina de fabricar historias y formatear las mentes. Barcelona: Península.

Semprini, A. (1993). Marche e mondi possibili. Un approccio semiotico al marketing della marca. Milano: Tipomonza.

Shachar, R., Erdem, T., Cutright, K. M. & Fitzsimons, G. J. (2011). Brands: The Opiate of the Nonreligious Masses? Marketing Science, 30(1), 92-110.

Sheffield, T. (2006). The Religious Dimensions of Advertising. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Sood, J. & Nasu, Y. (1995). Religiosity and nationality: An exploratory study of their effect on consumer behavior in Japan and the United States. Journal of Business Research, 34(1), 1- 9.

Tang, G. & Li, D. (2015). Is there a relation between religiosity and customer loyalty in the Chinese context? International Journal of Consumer Studies, 39(6), 639-647.

Taylor, C. (2014). La Era Secular. Tomo I. [The Secular Era. Tome 1]. Barcelona: Gedisa.

Taylor, V. A., Halstead, D. & Haynes, P. J. (2010). Consumer Responses to Christian Religious Symbols in Advertising. Journal of Advertising, 39(2), 79-92. Https://

Usunier, J. C. & Stolz, J. (2014). Religions as Brands: New Perspectives on the Marketisation of Religion and Spirituality. Surrey: Ashgate Publishing Ltd.

Weatherby, G. A. & Pugh, J. (2008). The Secularisation of Religion and Television Commercials in the US: An Update, Journal of Sociology, Social Work and Social Welfare, 2(1).


Search GoogleScholar


Article Details

Author Biography

Samuel Gil-Soldevilla, Av. de Vicent Sos Baynat s/n

12071 - Castellón de la Plana, España