Pope Benedict XVI, Love Marketer

Marketing love is nothing new.  The greeting card industry has been doing it for years.  So has the jewelry industry.  And let’s not forget the purveyors of lingerie.

But I think Pope Benedict XVI has a different “love” in mind.  
Merriam-Webster defines love as a strong affection arising out of kinship or personal ties. Death Cab for Cutie recalls how the Catholic school nuns defined love: “Son, fear is the heart of love”… still, he followed his love into the dark. Aristotle tells us that love is a single soul inhabiting two bodies.  And St. Paul tells us that in the end, faith, hope and love remain; but the greatest of these is love.
This leads of course to the obvious question: WWJS (what would Jesus say)?   Jesus always kept it simple; he said: Love your God with all your strength and love your neighbor as yourself.  It doesn’t get much clearer than that. Love as you wish to be loved.
But how will Pope Benedict market his version of love in the U.S. this week, some 2000 years after Jesus implemented the original campaign?  
So far we’ve heard a great deal about how the Holy Father’s visit is being orchestrated – meet and greet with the President on Tuesday, White House tour on Wednesday – including outdoor photo opps – mass at the Nationals ballpark on Thursday, followed by a meeting at Catholic University of America with the heads of 200 catholic colleges, then on to a meeting with Muslims, Jews, Hindus and Buddhists at the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center.  From there it is off to New York to address the United Nations, visit Ground Zero and conduct mass at Yankee Stadium.   
But what will the Pope be marketing?  What will he say?  Well, according to Religion News Service (RNS), Benedict will likely focus on the faith’s fundamentals, highlighting America’s vibrant religious tradition and urging Catholics to retain their identity in the public square.
Then again {and this is just my wishful thinking], perhaps the Pope will decide to market some tough love and touch on some of the more delicate issues pointed out by RNS, like the clergy sex abuse crisis or his disapproval of the “continual slaughter” in Iraq, or the imperative to protect the environment, or the “scandal” of poverty.  These are not things I am making up, these are topics on the Pope’s Top 10 List of issues that need to be addressed.
This we know, Pope Benedict XVI has stated that there can be no peace without love.  And this Pope wants peace.
So it appears the only question is which love he will be marketing:  gentle or tough.

Jim Sweeney


Jim is a veteran of the agency industry and the founder of Sweeney. He is uncommonly passionate about the idea of creating and implementing insanely great marketing campaigns that achieve insanely great results. He pioneered the full-service, full-circle agency model and continues to forge new ideas in an ever-changing industry. And he is accessible to everyone about anything, seemingly all the time, serving as a mentor to all agency personnel and clients.