Metrospirituality: Spirituality is the Latest Trend

Written by Jackie Pastrano Tan

What do sex and spirituality have in common? They are currently the top two marketing models for promoting products as varied as chocolate, athletic clothes and cars. Perhaps it’s due to the extensive use of sex in advertising, but recently, spirituality has gained momentum and become advertiser’s number one tool to attract and sell. This emerging phenomenon in advertising culture even comes with new branding name: they call it metrospirituality.

Metro-what? That’s correct – metrospirituality.

Have you noticed the growing number of buzz words that use the “metro” prefix? It’s time to add metrospirituality to the list. But what exactly does this term mean? And where did it originate?

According to Ariana Speyer in her article “Riding the Metrospiritual Wave,” originally published on beliefnet.com, metrospirituality is defined as the “mainstreaming of Taoist, Buddhist and Hindu values into easily digestible, buyable forms.” So how does this new trend manifest itself in real-life?

Metrospirituality is essentially the fusion of spirituality and commercialism, so we see its influence both in how companies are run and how they advertise.  Companies like Dagoba Organic Chocolate or Lululemon Athletica, a yoga clothing company, use spiritual beliefs to drive their corporate identity, philosophy and core values.

Would you like faith with that?

Slogans such as “Yoga inspired athletic wear” (Lululemon Athletica), “A taste of Nirvana” (Hampton Chutney), “You can deprive the body, but the soul needs chocolate” (Dagoba Organic Chocolate) or “Products that Nurture” (Aveda) reflect the transition from the traditional way of marketing a product, to marketing a product along with its attached set of spiritual beliefs.

This is a brilliant marketing move! Now not only do companies address the physical needs of the consumer, they also address the consumer’s spiritual and emotional well-being. And this is an inexhaustible niche to fill. As long as people continue to ask the age-old questions, “What is the meaning of life? What is my purpose in life? How do I find fulfillment?” there will always be new ideas and new solutions offered.   And of course, companies will be happy to provide the products to go with them.

It seems that we can’t get enough advice on how to enhance our emotional and spiritual well-being. But no matter how much information is available to us, our need for answers that transcend ordinary life never changes. We are looking for proof that there is more than this.  There must be more than grocery shopping and doing laundry and trying to go on vacation every once in a while.  We’re searching for answers that touch upon the spiritual and supernatural realm.

Metrospiritual culture tries to bridge the gap between our discernable physical/emotional needs and our often indiscernible and intangible spiritual needs.  By offering a piece of a set of beliefs, or even pieces of different sets of beliefs, metrospirituality promises a sense of enlightenment, of doing something good, without asking too much in return.

Your true spiritual need

However, in many ways metrospiritual culture confuses truth and our ability to discern our true spiritual need. We are inundated with a plethora of solutions that primarily address temporal needs with vague spiritual adages. We are still left wondering, “How can I know this will work?” or “Do I have to test all the options out there before finding the right one?” One should wonder, “How can I trust a company who wants my money more than helping meet my spiritual needs?”

If I were selling a product (and I wanted it to sell!), then I would market it in such a way that it appeared to be the solution to everyone’s greatest need.  However, when thousands of other companies use the same strategy in trying to sell their products, suddenly the market is full of thousands of solutions to our greatest need.  And next year, there will be a thousand new “solutions”.  Why?  Because all of last year’s solutions didn’t satisfy.  Why do we think this year’s marketing will be different?

Where do we find a solid, spiritual foundation in the midst of a culture that changes its moral and spiritual ideas as quickly as it changes its style? It’s hard to take spirituality seriously when it is also used to sell commercial goods.  With so many good options out there, how can we tell which one is best?

These are difficult question to grapple with, but questions of great importance that need answers. We’d like to hear your response, questions, insights or even objections. Please come and join us on our blog and discuss your views on metrospirituality.

Questions to meditate on:

  1. Is there a particular product you buy or activity you do to help you feel spiritually fulfilled or connected?
  2. How do you know the difference between your physical/emotional and spiritual needs?
  3. What do you use to fill your spiritual and emotional needs?
  4. Where do you find purpose and meaning in life? Are you searching for a spiritual side to life?
  5. Do you think people have a spiritual emptiness that they need to fill?

No comments yet

Leave a Reply