I a recent conversation with a client we stumbled over an interesting insight. His business is still quite weak across Europe – with the exception of a few markets which seem to have nothing else in common than being predominantly catholic.
After some discussing, we came to the conclusion that this might actually be his recipe for success as there are many more catholic countries that he hadn‘t previously recognized as focus markets.
What‘s the story?
The product that this gentleman is dealing in is a line of functional food which is supposed to balance the effects of an unhealthy lifestyle. Now, this is a concept that sounds very familiar to catholics: commit a sin, then confess and pay an indulgence fee. Whereas it runs counter to any protestant ethics that is all about having the strength and discipline not to commit a sin in the first place.
So, from a marketer‘s point-of-view, catholics may well be the hotter target both for products offering „forbidden pleasures“ and for „compensatory consumption“ because of their superior
sin guilt management.
Update: The comment from David below urges me to make one thing clear: My point is not a theological or ethical argument nor do I suggest that catholics are more frequent sinners than protestants. What I am making here is a psychological point, namely that the catholic faith offers those who are raised in its tradition better ways of coping with feelings of guilt and finding inner balance again. To benefit from this, they don’t even need to be practicing their faith if they have acquired the coping strategy, as psychology calls it, in the development of their personality.
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