Is your ad agency a cult?

So there I was, surfing around the internet doing research on cults for no specific reason (google is great) and I came across this. It's a description of signs you're in a cult. Upon reading, I found the similarities between a cult and the typical ad agency's mantra uncannily hilarious. Compare these traits to your agency, and the ad biz in general and see for yourself!

Common Properties of Potentially Destructive and Dangerous Cults

-The cult is authoritarian in its power structure. The leader is regarded as the supreme authority. He or she may delegate certain power to a few subordinates for the purpose of seeing that members adhere to the leader's wishes and roles.

-The cult's leaders tend to be charismatic, determined, and domineering. They persuade followers to drop their families, jobs, careers, and friends to follow them. They (not the individual) then take over control of their followers' possessions, money, lives.

-The cult's leaders are self-appointed, messianic persons who claim to have a special mission in life.

-The cult's leaders center the veneration of members upon themselves.

-The cult tends to be totalitarian in its control of the behavior of its members.

-The cult tends to have a double set of ethics. Members are urged to be open and honest within the group, and confess all to the leaders. On the other hand, they are encouraged to deceive and manipulate outsiders or nonmembers.

-The cult has basically only two purposes, recruiting new members and fund-raising. Established religions and altruistic movements may also recruit and raise funds. The cults may claim to make social contributions, but in actuality these remain mere claims, or gestures. Their focus is always dominated by recruiting new members and fund-raising.

-The cult appears to be innovative and exclusive. The leader claims to be breaking with tradition, offering something novel, and instituting the only viable system for change that will solve life's problems or the world's ills. While claiming this, the cult then surreptitiously uses systems of psychological coercion on its members to inhibit their ability to examine the actual validity of the claims of the leader and the cult.

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Anonymous Adgrunt's picture
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Dabitch's picture

*evil laugh*
Oh that is too true. Also, related: Do you work in advertising or are you a prostitute?

I hear it's like a cult praying to Dan W at the Nike-shop for example.

suddenwaffle's picture

I especially like #2,3,& 4. -The cult's leaders center the veneration of members upon themselves.

It's like down in Cannes. All these characters throwing exclusive soirees and acting like rockstars. Funny thing is, average people have no idea, nor care, who they are. Granted, it's fun to live it up and play out the fantasy...we all do it. It's one of the perks to this business. But once you start taking yourself too seriously, it's really kinda sad. My friend was turned away from one of the parties down there because he was in shorts. The doorman, with a straight face, looked at him and said "you cannot wear short pants or you will insult Mr. ." My friend replied "Monsieur, how are shorts an insult to a man who sells tampons and cigarrettes for a living?"

Dabitch's picture

Heya, lookie here suddenwaffle, you made the Creativitity email. ;)

Over at Adland, a user has posted a set of "common properties of potentially destructive and dangerous cults" and suggests that they might also describe the
average ad agency. You laugh? "The cult's leaders tend to be charismatic, determined, and domineering. They persuade followers to drop their families, jobs, careers, and friends to follow them. They (not the individual) then take over control of their followers' possessions, money, lives." Not to mention the fact that you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.

AnonymousCoward's picture

Jehovah's Witnesses a Classic cult- Who are they and what do they believe?

Knocking at your Door-Benevolent Christians OR Wolves in Sheep's Clothing?

UNLIKE in the case of Christians who are persecuted in other lands for talking about Jesus Christ, Jehovah's Witnesses are largely persecuted for following the teachings of their corporate headquarters.

The deadbeat Watchtower corporation pays no municipal taxes on their buildings, without even one charity to compensate the community.

[ Think! When was the last time you saw a Jehovah's Witness charity for the poor? ]

The Watchtower is BIG money, being one of the top 40 New York City Corporations making nearly one billion dollars a year. That's just from one of their many corporations.

Jehovah's Witnesses follow the teachings begun during the second presidency of the Watchtower, when Joseph F. Rutherford took over in a corporate flap and began changing doctrines quickly in the Watchtower belief system.

He claimed that angels directly conveyed "truth" to some of those in leadership. He coined the name "Jehovah's Witnesses" to make them stand out from being witnesses of Jesus, a typical evangelical expression (and a Biblical one).

Rutherford dumped holidays, birthdays and the 1874 date for the invisible return on Christ, and INVENTED an "earthly class" of Witnesses, since only 144,000 can go to heaven according to their teaching.

The rest, meaning all 99.9% of Witnesses still alive, will live forever on a cleansed earth, under the rule of the Watchtower corporate headquarter leaders in heaven, who will keep them in line by local elders known as "princes."

If you have been "witnessed to" by Jehovah's Witnesses and you reject their message, you will likely DIE "shortly" at Armageddon with all the other non-Witnesses, since theirs is the ONLY TRUE RELIGION, and (if they can live up to all the rules) they are the only ones to inhabit this "new earth."

If you believe Witnesses seem rigid now, any non-conformist during the future "cleansed earth" will be directly destroyed by their god. Even now a Witness will be disfellowshipped (excommunicated) for any one of many gaffs, such as smoking, taking a blood transfusion, or even voting.

To even vocally question the teachings of the Jehovah's Witness organization will result in complete cutting off, with family and friends usually being forbidden to talk to them.

The Watchtower is a truly ORWELLIAN world, in a time when Orwellian societies are nearly obsolete.


In his "Adams Versus God," Melbourne broadcaster Phillip Adams said in 1985 that, according to US studies, "Jehovah's Witnesses are more likely to be admitted to psychiatric hospitals than the general population".

"According to an article in the British Journal of Psychiatry," he said, "they are three times more likely to be diagnosed as suffering from schizophrenia and four times more likely to be paranoid schizophrenics.

"As a writer in the American journal Free Inquiry puts it: 'Either the Jehovah's Witness sect tends to attract an excess of pre-psychotic individuals who may then break down, or else being a Jehovah's Witness is itself a stress that may precipitate psychosis. "'Possibly both of these factors operate together ...'"

Are they knocking at your door?

Watchtower information site
Child advocacy and news on many child abuse lawsuits against the Watchtower
Watchtower whistleblower-Jehovah's Witness X 33 years and 3rd generation

troymcclure's picture

I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that Danny is not overly fond of Jehovah's Witnesses.

anothercopywriter's picture

Yeah, that's kind of the impression I got...

claymore's picture

I thought Tom Peters founded the Jehovah's Witnesses.,

kurtberengeiger's picture

Jehovah's Witnesses? Wow. That sounds like a very cool name for a virtually networked

Dabitch's picture

JeHOVAh Jehovah Jehovah!
All I said was 'That piece of halibut was good enough for Jehovah.'