BRANDED NATION: The Marketing of Megachurch, College, Inc., and Museumworld

James B. Twitchell, Author . Simon & Schuster $26 (336p) ISBN 978-0-7432-4346-9

Twitchell (Lead Us into Temptation ) has made a name for himself explaining how market forces of consumerism have shaped all of American culture, but here he focuses on three key locations: the church, the university and the museum. He begins by boiling down the mystique of brand identity to a sort of "commercialized gossip," a collection of stories that companies tell customers about their products in order to make them distinguishable from one another. Some brands do such a good job of holding our attention that they become cultural icons in their own right, so it should come as no surprise that our highest cultural institutions use the same techniques to assert themselves, especially when millions of dollars are at stake. Twitchell breezily guides readers through churches the size of community colleges and museums filled with Harley motorcycles and Armani wardrobes, showing how the gatekeepers are working the crowds like Barnum to draw in even greater audiences. Twitchell's prose never degenerates into mere crankiness, and he draws out even the most erudite points with casual ease and good humor. His own secure brand identity will ensure the support of regular readers, while his ease of entry can do much to increase his customer base. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 07/19/2004
Release date: 08/01/2004
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 327 pages - 978-0-7432-4347-6
Open Ebook - 336 pages - 978-0-7432-7161-5
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