This thesis examines the shared defining principles of both Western religions – specifically Christianity and its subgroups – and cult brands, and considers the common promises made by each. This examination serves to demonstrate that both religious and brand communities satiate the same fundamental needs, create a comparable sense of community, and ask the question of how identifying with either is beneficial to one’s health. These objectives will be accomplished by analyzing the current academic and trade literature in the fields of graphic design, business marketing and social psychology.
This thesis contends that if a brand adopts the foundational tenets, devices and tactics used to promote western religions, that brand has the potential to holistically affect the health of its consumers. Central to this hypothesis is the idea that identifying with a brand may elicit a sense of belonging and community, similar to that experienced by members of a religious group. A feeling of belonging creates a sense of security and protection against a dangerous world, perhaps even in the extreme example of a post-apocalyptic world.
The designed portion of this thesis consists of a series of advertising posters and a post-apocalyptic survival kit, produced by the brand INGVI. INGVI’s design follows the defining canons of western religions and cult brands in hopes of creating a sense of community and filling the voids left by unmet fundamental needs for a global audience. By following these principles, this project serves to satisfy consumer needs and provide a foundation on which to build communities and lead a healthy life in the days leading up to and following an “apocalypse” or other worldwide catastrophe.