Pamela Morris’s new book that explores the use of religion in advertising

December 10, 2021
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Assistant Professor of Communication Studies at IUPUC, Pamela Morris, Ph.D., has co-authored a new book that explores the use of religion in advertising.

Holy Hype: Religious Fervor in the Advertising of Goods and the Good News defines and explores the intersection of the sacred—religious symbols, themes, and rhetoric—within the profane realm of advertising and promotion. Morris, and co-author Susan H. Sarapin, Ph.D., (Troy University, Alabama), trace the historical overlap of consumer and religious ideologies in society, offering detailed examples of its use throughout history by analyzing more than 150 collected advertisements, from monks selling copiers, to billboard messages from God, to angels and the worship of vodka.

Throughout the book, the authors continually evaluate if and when the technique of “holy hype” is effective through its use of recognizable sacred symbols that capture audiences’ attentions and inspire both positive and negative emotions. Those interested in communication, media studies, religion, advertising, and cultural studies will find this book particularly useful. Readers will enjoy the numerous examples and realize the insights that can be gained from examining the “divine” creations of advertising art directors, copy writers, photographers, artists, and clergy.

“The connections between religion and advertising go beyond the use of symbols and rhetoric in individual advertisements,” said Morris. “When viewed through a higher-level media lens, we see that they also affect and are affected by larger societal structures and influences.”

Morris and Sarapin have been collaborating since they met in the doctoral program in communications at Purdue, and have written and published together for 10 years, mainly in the area of communication and law. This new book represents a progression of their collective collaboration during that time.

Anthony Hatcher, Chair of the Journalism Department at Elon University had this to say about the book: “In Holy Hype, Susan H. Sarapin and Pamela L. Morris describe the religious tropes used to sell religious and nonreligious products…As the authors note, with increasing secularism, future audiences may have less familiarity with the religious frames associated with such ads. Throughout this book, Sarapin and Morris offer historical perspectives on the holy hype behind both religious and secular consumerism.”

The book will be available in December, 2021 from Lexington Books. More information about the book can be found at Those interested in purchasing the book can use promo code LEX30AUTH21 on the Rowman and Littlefield website ( to receive a 30% discount.