Religion, Media, and the Marketplace

Religion, Media, and the Marketplace

Religion, Media, and the Marketplace

Religion, Media, and the Marketplace

Excerpt

Identity, Belonging, and Religious Lifestyle Branding
(Fashion Bibles, Bhangra Parties, and Muslim Pop)

LYNN SCHOFIELD CLARK

In the summer of 2003, ABC News interviewed Laurie Whaley, a spokeswoman for Thomas Nelson Bibles, about the new Bible her company was about to release. The Bible, called Revolve, had been designed to look more like a fashion magazine than the small-print, leather-bound, gilt-edged book that is familiar to most people. The magazine layout came about as a result of market research aimed at reaching the burgeoning Christian teen female market, Whaley said. "We asked teen girls how often they read the Bible," and "the response that came back was, 'Well, we don't read the Bible,'" Whaley said. She noted that in focus groups the teen girls told her, "'It's just too freaky, too intimidating. It doesn't make any sense.'" So, with the help of Hayley DiMarco, who had worked in teen marketing for Nike before coming to Thomas Nelson Bibles, the company created a complete New Testament for teen girls that freely drew its look from Cosmo Girl, Seventeen, and Teen People.

According to the Christian Booksellers Association, Revolve, dubbed the "fashion Bible" by journalists, was the best-selling Bible of 2003. Whereas normally about forty thousand Bibles are sold each year, Revolve was selling forty thousand copies a month shortly after its release. Thomas Nelson quickly followed up its success with Refuel, the New Testament magazine designed specifically for boys, that borrowed its look from skateboard, soccer, and guitar magazines. In addition to the complete New Testament, it contained music reviews and lists of dos and don'ts such as "Don't pretend you don't know your family" and "Do wear clean underwear." Later, Thomas . . .

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