Taking a cue from the French sociologist Emile Durkheim, who wrote about the contrast between the sacred and the profane in religious thoughts, I compare brands and religions and suggest there are a number of similarities between the two and that brands can be seen as functional alternatives to religions. I then discuss the Apple Corporation and its logo of an apple with a bite taken out of it, which calls to mind the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. This leads to a discussion of the sacred nature of department stores, which I suggest are functional alternatives to cathedrals, and to discussion of religions as brands and brands as religions. Changing brands of smartphones from Android to Apple is, I suggest, similar to being converted to a new religion. I conclude with a comparison of Harley-Davidson rallies and religious festivals, which reinforce the attachment of attendees to their consumer cults.
KeywordsDurkheim Sacred Profane Functional alternatives Conversion
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