Monday, November 9, 2009

Must-See TV for synagogue rabbis, presidents, and anyone creating a community institution

This is it; this is the real deal: What if Starbucks Marketed Like the Church?

Everything from the reserved parking spots (yes, I had one)
to the locked doors
to the overt emphasis on winning souls/converts
to the harrassment-in-the-name-of-being-welcoming
to the hard-sell for new attendees
to the over-branding
to the lack of follow-through on positive initiatives
to the reliance on direct marketing
to the lack of helpful signage for new people...


The video comes from a site called, and the commentary on their site is so on-key, so on-the-mark for everything I've seen over the years, it's scary.

Example: Their observation on the way we treat volunteers-

I think we feel so grateful for Bob (the guy who volunteers to do the PowerPoint), that on his first day, we do our best to make sure we do not upset him. After all, what if he stops coming? Then what are we going to do? No, what we will do is give him the least amount of information about his duty we can (as we do not have time to really train him) and then we will put up with him not doing it perfectly since he is so faithful (of course he has no real idea what perfection to us is), until one day we get fed up and fire him from his post and crush his spirit by telling how he "never" does it right, when we never trained him what right is.

[It's not just volunteers, either; I've seen the same thing happen to paid personnel.]

Must-See TV, indeed. I'm off to email the video link to several hundred of my closest friends.

h/t Or Am I


  1. Is this the guy who was just on This American Life?

  2. this was great and your comments spot-on too. wow...insightful video!

  3. See Act Two of this episode:

    I think the answer is that this is someone different who's going after an overlapping set of problems.

  4. Thanks for tracking that down, Isaac. Hope to get to watch it someday soon.

  5. ok. so you don't like people who are excited about their religion? not sure where you are going with it exactly--maybe its hitting too close to home. So what do you suggest should be done differently? what do you see in the satire, that occurs in real life, that you feel needs to be corrected? and what would be the way to correct it?
    looking forward

  6. Brad-
    People who are excited about their religion are great.
    People who forget about the humanity and dignity of others in their excitement about their religion, not so much.