The Prodigal Son

June 26, 2014
rembrandt_return_of_the_prodigal_son

When I was growing up I was taught by my parents about Jesus. One thing that always struck a chord with me was that Jesus knew how to teach. Jesus didn’t teach in rote. He didn’t read the Ten Commandments and get the Apostles to recite them. He taught in parable. Illustrations that though fictional, gave life to the point he was really making. The best example of this to me is the illustration of the prodigal son. A son who spends all of his inheritance on hedonistic pleasures and loses everything he has. At his lowest point he decides that his only option is to go to his father and beg for his forgiveness. The father takes him in and treats the son with loving affection. He sees the son’s repentance and cleans his slate.

The story gives many moral guides for lots of different types of people. These were never clearly defined, outlined and dictated by the storyteller. Jesus didn’t condescend his audience. He knew that they would understand without the need for him to dumb down his message.

The Bible has nothing to do with advertising obviously. But the way Jesus teaches in the Bible can teach us about how to deliver a message in advertising.
So often we see ads that labor over defining the exact message to us. They plainly outline what they want the audience to do, buy, change or think. They treat the audience like a tribe of lemmings, blindly following the light of mass media. Unable to think or process an idea.
To me it’s unconscionable to imagine our audience in this way. We all need to assume the best in our audience. Assume their intelligence, it will probably make telling your story a little more interesting.

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