September 30, 2006

WHICH IS WHY NBC WON'T BE CRUCIFYING MADONNA:

The prophet motive: U.S. faithful form rich market (BARRIE MCKENNA, 9/25/06, Globe & Mail)

It's Sunday and you have a little fender-bender in the church parking lot. No problem if you have FaithGuard -- an insurance policy targeted at the nearly 150 million Americans who regularly go to church. There's no deductible as long as you're driving to your place of worship.

FaithGuard is the inspiration of GuideOne Mutual Insurance Co. of Des Moines, Iowa, one of the countless new ways Corporate America is targeting the swelling population of Evangelical Christians.

"There are risks in this, from an insurance point of view," acknowledged GuideOne president and chief executive officer Jim Wallace. "But if you can appeal to someone's way of life, you can make a real bond that will help the business stick."

It seems to be working. Guide-One has sold 60,000 FaithGuard policies since it launched the free add-on to its regular auto insurance coverage last year, many of them sold directly to parishioners at church.

Forget the image of the dusty old Christian book store. The business of selling to Christians has reached a whole new plane. And nothing, and everything, is sacred. Corporate America is finding religion -- in music, movies, radio stations, banks, biblical theme parks, anti-abortion mutual funds, health clubs, and even faith-based towns.

"If you can target zip codes, you can target Christians," remarked Alan Wolfe, a political science professor at Boston College and director of the Boisi Center on Religion and American Public Life.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 30, 2006 10:50 AM
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