Out of all the passages in the Bible, I suspect the advertiser’s least favorite verse is Isaiah 55:2: “Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy?”
Advertising — like most other forms of marketing — can serve a noble and necessary function. But even most ad executives will admit that much of what they do is intended to fuel our desire to spend money on things we don’t really need and which cannot satisfy us.
Yet even knowing this truth we seem to never tire of hearing about the latest and greatest products and services. As the Preacher says in Ecclesiastes, “All things are wearisome, more than one can say. The eye never has enough of seeing, nor the ear its fill of hearing. . . Is there anything of which one can say, ‘Look! This is something new’? (v. 1:8,10).
Comedian Jerry Seinfeld is neither a preacher nor a prophet. But when the advertising industry recently gave him their highest award, he satirically skewered advertising-fueled materialism in a manner that is almost Biblical.