Religion, Spirituality, and Advertising


Special section of the Journal of Advertising; Deadline 15 Dec 2020

Author: Riza Casidy

Journal of Advertising
Special Section on Religion, Spirituality, and Advertising

Guest Editors:

Dr. David Waller, University of Technology, Sydney
Associate Professor Riza Casidy, Macquarie University, Sydney

Manuscripts are currently being solicited for an upcoming Special Section of the Journal of Advertising (JA) dedicated to Religion, Spirituality and Advertising.


Religion and spirituality play an important role in influencing individuals’ thoughts and behaviors (Laurin, Kay, and Fitzsimons 2012). Eighty four percent of the world’s population identify with a religion, while those who do not identify with any particular religion still have a strong sense of spirituality (Sherwood 2018). For example, 27 percent of religiouslyunaffiliated Americans are ‘absolutely certain’ and a further 22 percent are ‘fairly certain’ that they believe in God (Pew Research Center 2015). Because of the critical role of religion in today’s society, years of scholarship has attempted to examine the effects of religion and spirituality on consumer behavior (Mathras et al. 2016). Nevertheless, the topic of religion and spirituality in the advertising domain remains largely under-researched. For example, over the past decade, JA has published only a few articles that have focused on the topic (e.g., Minton 2015; Taylor, Halstead, and Haynes 2010).

Studies have demonstrated evidence for the powerful effects of religious and/or spiritual appeals and cues on consumer attitudes toward advertising. For example, Taylor, Halstead, and Haynes (2010) found that the use of Christian symbols improved advertising evaluations among evangelical Christians. In a social advertising context, Muralidharan, La Ferle, and Pookulangara (2018) found that the use of religious symbols in advertising activated religious values among individuals, which in turn generated positive attitudes toward the advertising message and a stronger intention to report domestic violence. Yet, our understanding of the effects of religion and spirituality in the advertising domain is still very much limited. This is because the majority of existing studies have largely examined the topic from a cultural perspective without fully considering the complexities of religion and spirituality in an advertising context. Indeed, “the concept of spirituality has not received enough attention in advertising research” (Marmor-Lavie, Stout, and Lee 2009, p. 1) and, until recently, “there is much to learn about using religion for enhancing messaging” (Muralidharan, La Ferle, and Pookulangara 2018, p. 628).

The Special Section aims to fill this gap with intentions to stimulate interdisciplinary research leading to papers that have a substantial impact on current thinking on Religion, Spirituality and Advertising.


The Special Section Religion, Spirituality and Advertising invites submissions from individuals and/or teams of researchers across academic fields and geographic regions of the world. Papers may include conceptual/theoretical development or empirical works using quantitative, qualitative, or “mixed” methods. Literature Reviews and Research Notes are also encouraged (see JA website for Instructions for Authors). Topics may include (but are not limited to):

  • Advertising of religious-affiliated organizations
  • Cross-cultural religious issues in advertising
  • Influence of religion and spirituality on attitudes toward advertising
  • Role of religious media in influencing consumption
  • Religious and spiritual appeals in advertisements
  • Religious symbols in advertising
  • Religion, spirituality and advertising ethics
  • Religion, spirituality and attitudes toward celebrity endorsers and/or social media influencers
  • Religion, spirituality and controversial advertising
  • Religious stereotypes in advertisements
  • Religious themes/cues in advertising and their impact on behavior


Submissions should follow the manuscript format guidelines for the Journal of Advertising (JA) found at

The word count should be no longer than 12,000 words (including references, tables, figures, and appendices).

All manuscripts should be submitted through the JA online submission system, ScholarOne, at, during December 1-15, 2020. Authors should select “SPECIAL SECTION: Religion, Spirituality and Advertising” as “Manuscript Type.” Please note in the cover letter that the submission is for the SPECIAL SECTION. Also note that:

  • All articles will undergo blind peer review by at least two reviewers.
  • Authors will be notified no later than February 2021 on the preliminary decision over their manuscript for the next round of review.
  • The anticipated date for publication of the Special Section is Fall 2021.

For additional information, please contact Special Section guest co-editors: David Waller (University of Technology Sydney, Australia) and Riza Casidy (Macquarie University, Australia) at:


Laurin, Kristin, Aaron C. Kay, and Gráinne M. Fitzsimons (2012), “Divergent Effects of Activating Thoughts of God on Self-Regulation,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 102 (1), 4-21.

Marmor-Lavie, Galit, Patricia A. Stout, and Wei-Na Lee (2009), “Spirituality in Advertising: A New Theoretical Approach,” Journal of Media & Religion, 8 (1), 1- 23.

Mathras, Daniele, Adam Cohen, Naomi Mandel, and David Glen Mick (2016), “The Effects of Religion on Consumer Behavior,” Journal of Consumer Psychology, 26 (2), 298-311.

Minton, Elizabeth A. (2015), “In Advertising We Trust: Religiosity’s Influence on Marketplace and Relational Trust,” Journal of Advertising, 44 (4), 403-14.

Muralidharan, Sidharth, Carrie La Ferle, and Sanjukta Pookulangara (2018), “Studying the Impact of Religious Symbols on Domestic Violence Prevention in India: Applying the Theory of Reasoned Action to Bystanders’ Reporting Intentions,” International Journal of Advertising, 37 (4), 609-32.

Pew Research Center (2015), “Religious Landscape Study,” Retrieved 30 November 2018

Sherwood, Harriet (2018), “Religion: Why Faith Is Becoming More and More Popular,” Retrieved March 21, 2020

Taylor, Valerie A., Diane Halstead, and Paula J. Haynes (2010), “Consumer Responses to Christian Religious Symbols in Advertising,” Journal of Advertising, 39 (2), 79-92.