I saw this video on Accuquilt’s Facebook page last week. It was originally released in January of 2016, but the company is featuring it again in a current marketing campaign. Accuquilt manufactures and sells die cutting tools for quilters.
You may recognize the concept from the “So God Made a Farmer” commercial for Ram trucks which ran during Super Bowl XLVII in 2013. That ad was a riff on a speech given by radio announcer Paul Harvey at a Future Farmers of America (FFA) convention in 1978. The premise is to extend the Genesis narrative by imagining an eighth day in which god made a special category of beings.
Harvey was a well-known radio personality who, according to his New York Times obituary,“personalized the radio news with his right-wing opinions.” Harvey “rallied against welfare cheats and defended the death penalty. He worried about the national debt, big government, bureaucrats who lacked common sense, permissive parents, leftist radicals and America succumbing to moral decay. He championed rugged individualism, love of God and country, and the fundamental decency of ordinary people.”
Dodge worked in conjunction with (FFA) for the Super Bowl ad, excerpting Harvey’s script and donating $100,000 for every million views the video got on YouTube.
Since then there have been many more riffs on Harvey’s concept including “So God Made a Factory Farmer” and “So God Made a Dog.” “
When Greg Gaggini, president of Accuquilt, saw a version his friend had made called “So God Made a Salesman,” he was moved. “It really touched the soul of who salesman are and people don’t realize the nights they spend away from their families and the sacrifices they make for themselves and their companies,” Gaggini told me. “All of a sudden I said, ‘You know, we should do something like that for the quilters.’”
He worked with his assistant, Pam Heller, and business partner, Steve Nabity, to write the script, then recorded it in his friend’s studio doing the voice-over himself. “They tried to make me sound like Paul Harvey,” he jokes.
The video includes lines in which God says, “I need someone willing to stay up all night to finish binding a project, only to give it away the next day to a newly wed couple, a wounded soldier, or a newborn baby.” And, “Someone who can make a shroud, so soft and tiny, it could be used to wrap a child on its journey back to heaven.”
Accuquilt has a profile of their target customer that they use when making strategic decisions. “We refer to our customer as ‘her,’” Gaggini explains. “We have a persona, we have pictures throughout the office so that we can identify ‘her.’ In fact, we bring those into our meetings.”
‘Her’ is a 55-63 year-old woman with a passion for quilting. “She loves to give things away. She loves to go to a quilt guild meeting. She loves to talk with her friends and be social,” Gaggini explains. “If her husband – not to be sexist – is spending money on a Harley Davidson motorcycle, she’s buying a longarm.”
“We’re always looking around going, ‘Is this what she would want? Is this the kind of thing she would want us to do?’” he says. When it came to the “So God Made a Quilter” video the answer was yes.
I asked Gaggini if God was important to ‘her.’ “I can’t impart that knowledge,” he said. “I’m a Christian, my business partner is a Christian. We believe in god. I sure hope she does. That would be great. But that’s not why we chose to do this.”
According to Gaggini, and marketing director Lynn Gibney, response to the video has been very positive. On the Accquilt Facebook page Donna Hull says about the video, “I am so glad god made me a quilter. I can’t think of anything in life that would be more relaxing. I am blessed for sure.” Facebook fan Diana Fleck says, “Thank you, God, for making me a quilter! What pleasure it brings!”
Quilt designer Jen Frost of the blog Faith and Fabric also enjoyed the video, finding it to be “a humorous and tender look at quilters.”
“To be honest, in the first few seconds I was a bit on guard,” Frost says. “Even in a country where religious freedom is celebrated, Christianity seems to be the one faith where, when potshots are taken, no repercussions follow.” For Frost the videos “main points around honoring life, spreading love, building community, and sharing joy echo teachings found in scripture” and she feels God would be amused by the video.
Yet not every had that reaction, including Sarah Machado who, after viewing the video, told me on Twitter, “I am a devout Christian and found it somewhat sacrilegious. Quilters are great. But quilting in and of itself doesn’t make a saint. Putting quilting up on this high pedestal seems unnecessary. Quilts can be used for great things, but I think God is okay if we make quilts just because we think it’s fun.”
Quilter Melanie McNeil pushed the idea further. “While I know many quilters take inspiration from their faith, I would rather keep religion out of people’s general understanding of what I do. Using God as a marketing tool is gross.”
At first Gaggini denied that the video was being used for marketing purposes, but when I pointed out that it a lead magnet on the Accuquilt site so that viewing access was granted after visitors entered their email addresses he acknowledged that indeed it was.
“So God Made a Quilter” is currently the seventh most popular video on Accuquilt’s YouTube channel with 53,732 views (Note: In July 2017 Accuquilt took the video down temporarily, then reuploaded it. The current lower download numbers are a reflection of that). “Nothing really compares to it,” Gibney told me. “It’s among our most shared content.”
Still other quilters take issue with the gender of the narrator. Designer Sam Hunter says,“To have it read by a man, not a woman, implies a male authority over a primarily female endeavor and I’m sick of us allowing men to describe our worlds and write our histories.”
Avid quilter, attorney Jennifer Bernstein, added, “This very much changes my feelings towards the company. And since I have some products, it makes me feel conflicted. As a Jew, it makes me feel almost like if they had known, they wouldn’t have sold to me.”
Gaggini says that although both he and his business partner are Christians, “we don’t push that on anyone.”
“When we have events in our facility, like if we’re going to have a big Thanksgiving dinner, or we bring food in, we pray before that and that’s just what we do,” he says, “but we’re not as deep as what Hobby Lobby does. People wouldn’t say Accuquilt is known as that, but we are Christians, we believe in God, but it’s not in the mission statement.”
The “So God Made a Quilter” video was a one-off piece meant to be fun, Gaggini says. The company doesn’t have plans to produce other similar spots for the future.
Madelyn Lenard says
In answer to the question, are they using God as a marketing tool, I would say the answer is yes. But I would also say they are not “using” God, they are honoring God and employing a touch of humor as well as promoting their product. I thought it was really wonderful.
I think it is God-honoring (with a Capital “G”, if you please) as well as quilter-honoring. It was clearly written by ones who are either quilters themselves or know and understand quilters (I particularly liked the line about having more scissors than you know what to do with). I think if a company wants to really zero in on the hearts and souls of quilters, and at the same time promote their product, they succeeded with this advertisement.
On the down side, I do agree that a female voice-over would have been preferable and I was particularly annoyed with the “echo” quality of the sound. It all started with Cecil B. deMille and Burt Lancaster. Blame them, I guess. When God talks, He doesn’t use echos, but still small voices to the heart. I could also see how male quilters might be put off by the fact that the message was essentially sent out to women. But like it or not, there are many more women quilters than men, so since good advertisers check their demographics, they moved forward with the numbers.
Our society is obsessed with not offending anyone. That is an impossible position to be in and ultimately results in paralysis.
Yes, I can see all the reasons why people don’t like the video. But come on, folks, does this have to be picked apart for every little infraction or possible mis-step? People could be annoyed over any one of a number of “flaws” in this video and probably will be, based on their concept of God or sensitivity to gender issues. It’s so much easier to sit in judgment on someone else’s work.
Ultimately what it comes down to is, if you don’t like the video you probably will not buy the product, and if you do like the video and are touched by it, you probably will or might buy the product.
But please, let’s not turn these replies into a free-for-all. A little grace (and if you don’t like that word, use “tolerance”) goes a long way.
Rebecca Grace says
I thought the echo effect of the voiceover was meant to simulate the acoustics of a traditional church sanctuary, like the voice was a pastor delivering a sermon from the pulpit.
Rebecca Grace says
Maybe the money changers in the Temple of Jerusalem thought they were “honoring God while promoting their products,’ too. Yet Jesus had a big problem with what they were doing… He was enraged, flipped over their tables, and drove them out of his father’s house.
I read your blog prior to watching the YouTube video, so I probably had things in mind that I was consciously or unconsciously watching for. I don’t understand the woman who offered the opinion that because she is Jewish, she may not have been sold an Accuquilt product. I found nothing in the piece that indicated it was for one denomination or another. I think it’s presumed that God, in some form, is the basis for most religions.
There were, however, things I didn’t care for. I agree that the narrator should not have been male – enough with that image! While I understand that they were using their “ideal” in terms of the quilter, they should have used significantly more diversity in terms of age, race, and sex for quilters as well as recipients of that love and those quilts. Also, using only older women and no men just doesn’t portray America’s quilting community.
And last, I don’t think that God should be employed to advertise, whether it be trucks, or dogs, or quilts. Itt’s not appropriate, or as my grandmother would have said, “not seemly”.
Jennifer Bernstein says
The video depicts a very Christian conception of God that I personally found alienating because it makes me feel that my own beliefs are undervalued or even being perceived as wrong. As you said yourself, they should have used significantly more diversity for quilters and this advertisement shows a very, very narrow view of their customer base. I don’t think that Accuquilt wouldn’t sell me their products per se, I am sure they liked getting my money, but it does make me feel like they wouldn’t want me to be their target customer or employee since the owner even stated, “I’m a Christian, my business partner is a Christian. We believe in god. I sure hope she does. That would be great.” My feeling is that his hope isn’t that his customer believe in God, but rather that his customer be a Christian like himself.
Felice Regina says
I myself am an agnostic atheist, but grew up in Christian family, attended a Christian school from 1st-8th grade, and went to church and Sunday School every Sunday until I was about 16. That combined with having lived in Texas my entire life means Christianity is an unavoidable presence in daily life. People around here seem to have a baseline assumption that everyone is a Christian unless they appear to be from a foreign, non-Christian majority country. When I started quilting, I quickly noticed that Christian faith is quite strong in the quilting community. It makes sense to me though, as quilting is rooted deep in American tradition and communities that also are anchored by religion.
So when I see people express feelings like those of Jennifer Bernstein, I’m a bit surprised. You know that scene in the Devil Wears Prada where Meryl Streep sarcastically says, “Florals…for spring? Groundbreaking.” Well, I’m like, “A quilting company is proud to be Christian? Shocking.” When she says “As a Jew, it makes me feel almost like if they had known, they wouldn’t have sold to me,” I just can’t understand where she’s getting that idea. Just because they are proud of their faith, doesn’t mean they automatically have negative attitudes towards non-Christians. That’s just jumping to conclusions. If they’d said they were proud to be American, would Canadians be saying “As a Canadian, it makes me feel almost like if they had known, they wouldn’t have sold to me?” No. People are just really, really touchy about religion on all sides.
That being said, I think involving religion in marketing is unwise. It has the potential to needlessly alienate people, among a slew of other issues I’m not even going to bother with. But I don’t think Accuquilt is doing anything slimy here. They seem like they had nothing but light-hearted, positive intentions. Did it turn me off a bit? Yeah. But I think some of the people you spoke to are reading way too much into it and looking for reasons to be unhappy. People like to promote diversity and inclusiveness, but sometimes forget that means including EVERYONE, not just marginalized groups. Dog piling on Christians for a pretty un-offensive video seems silly.
Separation of church and state is essential, especially in 2017. Using “god” is not inclusive and not necessary, no matter who belives what. I think is is ridiculous and archaic.
Remember there’s no state here. Accuquilt is a privately held business.
I realize accuquilt is a business and not part of the government, but I strongly feel that using “god” is exclusive. I feel that the concept fits and businesses should be neutral entities. With all of the hatred today, it is important to promote inclusivness.
I agree. I’m Jewish and I own a Go cutter and a TON of dies and now I feel like I should get rid of them. Makes me sad. No company should be mixing their faith with product sales.
And that whole male god voice mansplaining to women also gets me down. Sheesh!
Booth Kittson says
I’m reading an article in Washington Post about one of our Texas Representatives (Jodey Arrington) using a bible quote to justify denying people food stamps. When Rep. Arrington first took office he held prayer meetings in his D.C. office after he was sworn in. Don’t forget this is the state where kid’s schoolbooks have passages questioning the division of church and state.
That’s the climate of our country right now; this not-so-subtle merging of church and state – something that’s supposed to be constitutionally off limits and is certainly divisive. In the name of “Christianity” is used as a political tool to browbeat folks that might otherwise disagree with what’s going on. Plus we’ve got political leaders espousing women’s role as traditional. “I mean, I won’t do anything to take care of them. I’ll supply funds and she’ll take care of the kids.”
So when a popular quilting tool company publishes a video that is so obviously Christian and gender role biased, there’s a natural connection. Of course.
It’s unfortunate for Accuquilt that they published this now. Many people will naturally see it as a political statement. I doubt they meant it in a political sense but it makes me wonder about their judgement. It’s uncomfortable for me to watch, playing on cliche and sappy ideas of motherhood.
Just to be clear the video was originally published in January of 2016, but is part of a marketing campaign taking place right now and is therefore being promoted again.
As a religious Jew, I love this. I’m sick and tired of any mention of God (other than Allah of course) being forbidden in this country. If you don’t like the message don’t buy from Accuquilt – that is your choice. For me, it makes me proud to own their product.
These days the only relgion one is allowed to celebrate is Islam, with all the seperation of Church and State in our schools, for some reason, Islam is exempt. Nike can proudly pretned that wearing the Hijab is a choice – not something that is forced on most Muslim women in the world. Gee I wonder when they will start promoting Female Genital mutilation.
So yes, there are Jewish Right wingers out here, who are quilters and are proud of the mention of a loving God. Btw, I never heard Jesus mentioned here, or another refernce to God and I’m ashamed of any American Jew who feels deminsihed in this country. Europe awaits them with all their Jew hating Muslims, readly to murder them on arrival.
I’m thinking your response would be better received/understood if you hadn’t openly bashed another religion. Simply saying that as a Jewish person you are proud of their messaging is a lovely sentiment. The other stuff makes it hard to have civil discourse tbh.
Jennifer Bernstein says
So then should sheitel be forbidden to religious Jewish women? I mean, its as much of a choice for them as hijab is for Islamic women. Just because a Jewish woman wears a wig instead of a scarf does not change the nature of the activity, which is to cover the hair. As a Jewish person in America, I see much more expression of Christian ideals and beliefs than any other in my day to day life, so I disagree with your perceptions. Also, I find your comments reprehensible as I believe strongly in our constitutional protections of freedom of religion, for all religions.
Leah, I don’t support hatred of any kind, including hatred of Muslims.
It makes me cringe but I’m from the UK and we’re allowed to not be religious and still be a good person. I make things and give them away because it’s a good thing to do for both me and the recipient, not for some extra brownie points when I die.
This all just screams ‘American’ rather than international and it would deter me from buying their products.
I agree with you Arlain, it does scream “American” and we wonder why we have so many problems here. I would not buy their products either.
Agreed! I’m British too and it has too much sentimentality aside from the religious message, but I think that may just be a cultural difference. I don’t have a problem with a company being honest with it’s faith but it does feel a little worthy and saccharine so I can understand why it might put some people off.
MELANIE MCNEIL says
Aside from the religious issues, there are other societal/cultural ones. The video presents an incredibly limited view of who quilters are — they are really female, really maternal, and mostly unemployed outside the home. (How else could they have time to take care of all those children, carting them around to practices and games?)
The video completely ignores the portion of the quilting community that is professional, at any level. We all do all this, only for love and country and G*d, apparently. And we give all of our quilts away to wounded warriors and young marrieds and babies on their way to heaven. Okay, true, we do a lot of that, but that is not the full picture, and the larger picture isn’t hinted at.
We don’t all get a rush from buying new fabric, have a stash taller that the Empire State Building, or more scissors than pairs of shoes. Ridiculous. I DO NOT get goosebumps from buying new fabric.
The quilter that G*d created, according to this video, is a stereotype. And though many elements of that may ring true for many quilters, they do not for all of us. I’ve been pushing against stereotypes of me for my whole life. This one is so entrenched, a major company in the industry just tried to define us all the same way.
Overall, my impression is negative. I understand the owners’ view and I know many quilters probably find this very touching. But for me, if I were in the market for their product and had two options that were otherwise equal, I would choose the one from the company that isn’t using religion to sell a non-religious product.
I think that they’ve used a well-known marketing parody to directly target their main demographic – the American 55-63yo (I’m guessing white) woman with the disposable income to spend $100s and $1000s of dollars on their product, and who DOES give away most of what they make. Should I get offended, as an Australian SAHM half that age and not the spare disposable income to spend on their product AND a quilting industry professional who makes quilts to make some money so that I CAN stay home with my kids, am not being marketed to by this ad? No. That’s just what the quilting industry has to market to, because that’s where the money is. I most certainly have plenty of ideas in which they could market to quilters a lot younger than that, but I’m not going to be offended that “once again” I’m “overlooked”.
Lauren Lang says
This is an interesting one. For both this and the original Paul Harvey piece (though interesting side note on his politics, which I did not know) I really thought of the “God” reference more symbolically/metaphorically. And especially since this is a riff on an already existing text, I really didn’t pay the god thing too much attention. It’s a vehicle, a literary device by which to talk about the quilter.
And THAT is where things get weird and problematic as lots of people have noted. Because where is the acknowledgment of diversity in age, religion, background, role in the industry, family status, etc.? And how successful can a marketing campaign like this be when it tries to define its audience explicitly?
I think it’s a fail, at least for me, but not on the grounds of the religious reference. It pisses me off in its assumptions in the same way “God Made a Farmer” pissed me off by calling the farmer “he” when 30% of US farmers are women. If they had used this as a showcase for diversity and community rather than stereotype, I think they’d have had a successful campaign.
Using God to market products is the same as using women with big boobs to sell beer. Or using the trope of doofus husbands to sell flu medicine. It’s all targeted marketing, none of which resonates with me in the least. Which is to say that the demographic for this ad will feel special and validated by it-and more inclined to purchase the product. Folks like me will likely recognize that we are not their desired customer and move on to a different retailer. The CEO said it himself: they have a particular woman in mind who is their customer. Pictures of her all over the office! This ad is speaking to that person. To me, it just comes off as obvious and therefore patronizing.
It was on twitter or facebook that I had read comments about this and the assumption of sameness. I’m an atheist but it doesn’t usually come up, it’s not like I wear a sign on my forehead – so walking into a LQS as a 20 something white woman I can see how they’d assume my Mom fit into their “her” mold and also that I would grow up into that too. I’d be curious to know how they got their “her” persona, I can think of 5 quilting friends off the top of my head who would “look” like that but actually aren’t. Did they survey their customers?
The closest LQS doesn’t open until 1 on Sunday, when Sunday morning is one of my prime working slots (and presumably they think most of their clientele is at church). Between that and how distinctly un-kid-friendly their shop is, when I have ones in tow, means I don’t go very often. I think targeted marketing like this serves as a self-fulfilling prophecy, it draws those in that demographic closer in and pushes those who aren’t further away, making their actual customer base more homogeneous (even if it wasn’t necessarily before).
The idea of quilting or really doing anything for a reward when you die makes my skin crawl, and as other have said, having some guy read this off in omniscient tones about women 100% rubs me the wrong way. It should also be noted that just because someone critiques something or says they don’t like it, doesn’t mean they were offended.
Just to be clear the guy reading is the president of the company.
Mathew Boudreaux says
At face value, I generally don’t have an issue with a company choosing to involve religious marketing messages. However, it does make me wonder whether it’s being used to celebrate or to exclude, which can only be found out through further investigations. I’m a Sizzix-lover so, in this case, I probably won’t. But like Chic-fil-a, for instance, also contributed to Prop 8 and organizations that supported gay conversion therapy, so I’m like hmmm maybe I shouldn’t give them my money. I’d rather give my money to inclusive companies, so I’ll hope that accuquilt is one of them.
Lucky you. I always regretted going for Accuquilt instead of Sizzix and now I have a fortune in dies to unload. : (
Rebecca Grace says
Send them to me… 😉
L. Hicks says
I find it terribly offensive for one to say he knows what God says, does, or thinks…and certainly used in a commercial setting. I have bought many, many Go products, lost to the fire; but I would gag at the thought of ever opening their website again.
Kim Werker says
Coming over here from conversations about the video on Facebook, I’ve been thinking a lot about how our differing opinions about the video speak to both our and the company’s assumptions about what’s inclusive and what’s exclusive.
More than an issue of an assumption of sameness, I see the video as an example of something we’re talking about all over the place these days: a mistaking of dominance/privilege with neutrality. Of course Accuquilt as a company doesn’t recognize that this kind of thing could be polarizing – I get the impression they might not have the perspective to see that what they think of as neutral can only be seen that way within the bubble they’ve created. The problem isn’t with their customer persona (creating personas of “ideal” customers is a widespread and effective marketing strategy), it’s about stunning (probably subconscious) assumptions about how others perceive the interaction of their faith with their business.
Mention of god in the video strikes me as done in a manner that’s exclusively Christian, despite the fact that god exists at the heart of most religions, Christian or otherwise. That some perceive the mention as being inclusive of all religious people is telling – when you’re a member of the group, it’s very hard to see how people who aren’t in the group might perceive things like this.
When it comes to questions of whether something is inclusive or exclusive, it’s helpful to listen very carefully to the people complaining of exclusivity – it’s their perspectives that will shed light on any problems that might be hindering a company’s or individual’s attempts to be inclusive.
The way this is produced, the only message I get from this video is that Accuquilt sees their most important, target customer as an evangelical Christian. Since I don’t fall into that category, it makes me think their product is not for me and they don’t think I’m really a quilter.
I also think it is lame that they are unable to come up with their own original marketing campaign and have to remake a Dodge commercial.
Thanks for posting such a thought-provoking article – you always do!!
God, as I know him/her, really doesn’t give a darn if people buy fabric. In fact he/she is probably wondering why so many of us are buying fabric when there are hungry people all over the world and mountains of used textiles that could be remade into quilts. If an idea intends to “make people buy stuff, get us some PR” then it’s probably a clue that it’s not actually something God would want to be a part of.
I think we should keep spirituality inside ourselves and have it guide our work related behavior when it comes $$ but not use it as a manipulation tool to convince customers to shop with us. We should be so kind and so ethical in our business practices that our customers leave assuming that whatever wonderful religion THEY are, we must be too!
Perhaps the challenge should be to encourage companies to develop ad campaigns that also appeal to a larger & inclusive demographic.
The quilt industry of today is fairly young. Eleanor Burns, Nancy Zieman, and Fons & Porter are a few pioneers of what is today’s quilt movement, just as Julia Child laid a modern foundation for gastronomy. There will always be quilters that fall into the age range of AARP, but younger generations are making their mark & have growing disposable incomes not to be ignored.
Take a glance at Angela Walters, Libs Elliott (who uses Accuquilt Dies), Nicholas Ball, and Tula Pink (crowds surround her at events like hungry paparazzi ) and see quilters of a newer generation with tens of thousands of followers & influence. Chawne Kimber’s quilts focusing on social justice and encourage quilters to think & act. These are benchmarks that older stereotypes of who a quilter is no longer hold true en mass.
Regarding Paul Harvey, it was a different era. While he did support the philosophy of figures such as Billy Graham, Harvey’s stories of faith and the human spirit were considered mainstream America at the time. Many hold those similar beliefs today.
For me, cutting fabric accurately is a challenge. I own accuquilt products. I’ve been fortunate to visit their headquarters & meet some of the folks named in this article. I can report they are a kind, welcoming and a supportive group. There was no litmus test about faith or social issues. Hugs & encouragement given freely. I was treated with respect & returned it in kind. While the video isn’t my cup of tea, I don’t believe there was any malice or disrespect intended. It’s content hits home with its target audience.
While their products do encompass price points & target audience is geared towards specific consumers, this is not unique in the quilt industry. The good news is that more companies do widen their umbrella for who a quilter is, & promote goods & services accordingly.
Regional differences come into play here as well. Smaller companies in what is considered the Bible Belt of America often intertwine faith & business practices, while larger ones don’t. Companies who move past the concept that quilters are retired gray haired ladies as their central demographic will stay relevant & grow.
Michael, your comments are well written and echo my sentiments exactly. I am glad that you shared your actual experience with your visit to Accuquilt’s headquarters, and your direct interactions with the people who work there. I agree and do not think the video intends disrespect.
I have enjoyed your blog, and I’ve shared it with many people. This is the first time I’ve been disappointed. It was difficult to read past your title. Both your title and your content had “God” written with no capital “G”. It’s disrespectful.
Thank you for this feedback. I have corrected it.
Feelings about god aside, as a feminist, I’m mortified at the characterization that a woman’s creativity must serve others. Everything about that video smacks of how white men need to pigeon-hole women’s creativity in order to sanitize and contain what might otherwise feel threatening to them.
Julie Moss says
Thanks for sharing the video I really enjoyed it. I also appreciate that you took the time to show the different points of view about if God is really involved in our quilting. I think it’s important to not over think and react to things like this and to take from it what works for you and not to be so offended.
This is a fascinating case because I think the ad is well made and very effective– for its target audience. I’m not in that target audience but I personally am not offended, just resigned that this kind of thing happens often when one is in the minority. I can see how other people might take offense.
I think that with connectivity being so high today, what a company says can not be expected to be confined. It may be spread around and go beyond the intended audience. Companies need to be aware that what they say and do will be viewed by many.
Denise Lindow says
I read this post and some comments before watching the video. I was expecting to say that this is no big deal. God is a creative being and we are made in His image. God Bless all creatives! But………. I did not even finish watching the video I was offended. Proverbs 30:6 Do not add to his words, lest he rebuke you, and you be proven a liar.”
I have great respect for God and love that he made us creative! I just wish Accuquilt would have been creative in their video efforts. Giving Him credit for making us creative is awesome and He definitely made some beautiful, amazing, awe inspiring , talented quilters!! But……adding to His word and with authority is not cool. I feel as if God and His word is being mocked. The way this video was made to add to His word I was taken a back and saddened with all the creative ability out there it could of have been written differently still showcasing Quilter’s around the world, through out time etc……..
I really appreciate your coverage of issues like this, Abby, at a time when it seems so difficult to have a thoughtful dialogue (and indeed some of the comments here remind me why it’s so difficult).
I find the ad really gross – a rather lame way to describe it, but it just makes me want to take a shower. As others have said, I’m sure it sings right to the choir of Accuquilt’s biggest demographic, but it doesn’t bode well for the sustainability of their business. And I think it’s pretty creepy that they have an ideal customer in mind and bring “her” to meetings with them. Really? Just one vision of an ideal?
And yes it’s so sanctimonious, and weirdly trying to merge saintliness with commercial consumption of (for example) hundreds of spools of thread.
And yes, it just feels so overwhelmingly white, and maternal, and no, the token people of color don’t fool me.
I’m also wondering how having a gay male spokesquilter like Ricky Tims representing the brand fits into all of this?
I have been planning to sell my Accuquilt products for a while now, and this has just given me the motivation I need.
Judy Coates Perez says
No, just no.
As a marketing tool it turns me off completely, but then again I ‘m an art focussed quilter that has very liberal views, so I am not the base they are trying to sell to. I’m not offended by it in anyway, but I do think “god” should be a private matter and not brought into sales.
Deirdre O'Riordan says
Ugh, I did not like this video. I found it sappy and smarmy. And while it’s absolutely Accuquilt’s right to link their view of God with their brand, people will rightly interpret it based on their own life experience and context, and make purchasing decisions as a result, good and bad for Accuquilt. In this day and age, it seems more are waking up to the fact that how we spend our money is also a form of voting.
One thing I haven’t seen discussed is the video’s linking of a benevolent god with abundant purchasing/consumption. The lines about never having enough fabric; a stash taller than you and not afraid to admit it; able to match any thread color because you have over 100 spools — seem especially wrong here.
So, to be clear, I don’t find anything wrong with people who have tons of fabric/thread/etc… My closet would speak to that at a glance! I’m just bothered by the hypocrisy of linking that “celebration of stuff” to religion, when one of the most dominant themes across religions is putting people before things.
Rebecca Grace says
Exactly! Store up your treasure in heaven where thieves do not break in and all that. I don’t like it that in the Gospel According to Accuquilt, they have the gaul to contradict Christ. Yes, I buy a lot of fabric and thread and I like nice equipment, but spending more money on fabric, thread, or Accuquilt dies is NOT my ticket to heaven!
I’m with Jen Frost.
Ok, I laughed about the Harley/longarm thing because that is exactly what happened in my house. That said, we each financed our own purchase.
Using religion to sell products in 2017 is at best lame and at worst offensive. What’s more, the whole point of the Accuquilt is to bang out quilts quickly, so I’m hardly seeing the virtuous connection their espousing in this video. Even more so, I’m not sure why recycling a concept in a fifth iteration is especially clever marketing.
Will I stop using my Accuquilt or stop buying dies? Probably not. This is low-level offensive as far as I personally (a Jew) am concerned, but I don’t discount the offense that anyone else takes here.
Anonymous Quilter says
I have to agree with others who are disappointed that you wrote God with a lowercase g. Regardless of your personal beliefs, it’s a sign of respect toward the beliefs of others.
Thank you. I have corrected this.
Rebecca Grace says
Personally, I’m offended by the video BECAUSE I’m a Christian, and it’s frankly blasphemous for a supposedly Christian business owner to put out a video with a fake stereoptypical pastor voiceover preaching made-up scripture about God creating consumers on the 8th day whose purpose is to keep buying more fabric and tools than they could ever need or use, “only the best quality” because thou shalt not be stingy at the cash register when one’s shopping is a holy mission from the Almighty. I don’t even like it when contractors put Jesus stuff on their trucks and vans (this is common in the South) because, like the Accuquilt video, it’s someone using a conspicuous display of religiosity in order to gain the business and trust of Christian customers. I honestly believe that this type of marketing violates the commandment “thou shalt not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.” I also found it obnoxious that any commercial enterprise would have the audacity to speak for God, especially since their voice of God so clearly deems quilting as an unpaid occupation that everyone should be doing for free out of piety or righteousness or some crap like that. The whole video is SO patronizing and condescending on so many levels… And I do feel outraged on behalf of the male quilters, young quilters, the Jews, the atheists, and all of the other quilters who do not fit Accuquilt’s ideal customer profile and who feel marginalized by this video yet again. Dumb move, Accuquilt!
Deirdre O'Riordan says
Well said – I so appreciate your point about being outraged on behalf of others. Ideally, if we’re using our brains and hearts and souls, we should be able to pick up an idea, examine if from another angle or two, and recognize how the message could make someone who’s not part of the majority feel offended or more excluded. And Accuquilt including one quick shot near the beginning of the video, showing a rainbow of people around a table, just doesn’t cut it for me.
Deirdre O'Riordan says
And sorry if it comes across wrong. I hope I wasn’t being patronizing by saying “… someone who’s not part of the majority…” What I meant to convey is that we each need to work on our ability to walk a mile in the shoes of someone not exactly like ourselves, to recognize things can look and feel different from another angle, and the difference ought to be recognized and respected.
It’s when you’re not offended by something and don’t see how it could possibly be perceived as offensive, but hear that someone else is, that we need to listen most.
Pearl Moon says
Firstly – Abby, I continue to be impressed with this fantastic newsletter and your personal commitment and integrity in facilitating this topic, and other potentially divisive subjects in our sphere of interest to be raised and discussed. You go girl!
Secondly – as a feminist and atheist I just purse my lips and roll eyeballs “heavenward” in distaste.
It saddens me that this variety of mawkish marketing is gauged to be an effective way of getting potential consumers to feel sufficiently warm and fuzzy to buy the product, presumably as some sort of surrogate of meaningful life experience. I believe it’s a rather naïve and potentially explosive decision to mix commodity marketing with religious belief.
I don’t think it even rates as a deeply cynical marketing project, its more emblematic of the kind of disconnect and polarisation that is currently going on in contemporary western society between conservatives and progressives. The world view of the people who run this company has become so insular and narrow that they operate under the delusion that this advertisement was superbly targeted to their stereotype consumer and would have broad appeal.
I’ve no doubt Accuquilt will be confused and defensive as to why it has created such controversy.
Michele Rickitt says
I think using God in any form of advertising is totally inappropriate, and this is no exception. I think everything elseI would say has been said with great eloquence by other commenters so I will leave it at that.
cat golden says
OMG, the first thing I noticed was how “white ” it is! Towards the end a few African American women thrown in which looks like a token. It feels and sounds like a right wing republican christian ad and it offends me. Quilting is about so MUCH MORE then this! Lets just start with Gee’s Bend! But now I know I will never buy Aquaguilt products so thanks for that. I find it soooo offensive.
and ps: I will write “god” however I please and it has NOTHING to do with respect or values. How judgmental can these people be and then call themselves “christians”. TYpical hypocrits!
I think all the debate above and on other platforms about this video just re-inforces the general principle that it’s best to keep your religious and political views to yourself on business platforms. They are very devisive subjects that people feel very passionately about which are likely to result in a company offending a proportion of their customer base.
I agree with you Fiona.
Colleen C. Yarnell says
What I find sad about all of the above comments is the underlying assertion that the point of view in the the video must be exclusive and there for negative and worthy of dismissal, boycott, criticism etc. Why cant we acknowledge our like/dislike without cutting others down for their beliefs. We have all grown up with different experiences and values and beliefs that are valid. Unless I see ritual pain, dismemberment or death I will not condemn someone else. I can say I dislike/like something and should not be tared and feathered for it. People talk about their personal pain. As a single childless woman with a complicated background no one needs to know I feel pain at all the targeted advertising/community events/church events geared toward families/moms/grandmothers. But I don’t condemn others for their beliefs because they personally pain me or I dont agree with them. What one person calls mawkish another sees as a validation of their important values. “You cant understand someone until you walked a mile in their shoes.”
Linda Couckuyt says
I feel it is sanctimonious to bring God into marketing. Our Father made many wonderful things for us in 6 days. I believe we should share, talk about, be thankful, etc., etc., those things without making up something/anything, whether it is a quilter, a farmer or whomever. Let us speak as openly about the things He did make as those He didn’t. Using God to sell a product does nothing to honour God any way you slice it, or cut it, or plow it. It is wrong. I am both religious, a Christain, and a quilter. This marketing tool is meant to reach your religious side make you feel you
have a lot in common, tear at your heartstrings – make a shroud for a child = and praise your talents in sewing, make you feel you are very special as God made you a quilter. You deserve something special to honour that – go buy an accuquilt prduct. This is wrong, wrong, wrong on so many levels. Personally, I will never buy any of their products after watching this video.
Linda Couckuyt says
I meant sacrilegious not sanctimonious. Brain not working correctly.
Buy Sizzix – the machines are better – the dies are fantastic – and all those accuquilt dies will work on the Sizzx machines.
Sizzix attract great designers who value the company.
I sell Sizzix my customers range from + – 40 – 85 years and I am proud to say we have both male and female quilters.
I stopped being a top seller of Accuquilt – I have no interest in supporting this company.
This is an underhand form of marketing.
We are having a great sale on Sizzix machines! plus a free adapter to make it easy to use those accuquilt dies on your Sizzix machine.
Madelyn Lenard says
This is not a comment, it is an advertisement.
absolutely is a comment – would not give a comment if I did not have first hand knowledge of the products and feel strongly that quilters can not be put in a box – gender, religion should not be decided by any company. Our offer of a free G adapter to allow anyone to use accuquilt dies on a Sizzix machine is a genuine offer – to all quilters.
I do not approve of the use of religion as a marketing tool, this is a sad form of advertising employed by this company, lets all live in harmony and enjoy our hobbies without the outside pressure from the big companies. I welcome everyone to buy and use the best products on the market no pressure from any religions sector.
I rather enjoyed, “So God made a Quilter.” I failed to see the disgust that so many of you stated. I can see where our world has gone crazy.
Thank you GOD for quilters, writers, sewist, mothers, fathers, children (healthy or not) and your plan. Thanks for the talent, GOD, to make many beautiful things. Thank you for everything. And yes, thank you for love people express as they gather around to cut, sew, and share the next story of happiness. I’m sorry some of you will miss it.
I know it can be difficult to do, but if you can try to put yourself into the shoes of someone for whom this description of God doesn’t ring true, or for whom associating God with commerce feels incongruous, you might be able to understand the perspective of those who are turned off by this promotional video rather than seeing it as the world having gone crazy.
Deirdre O'Riordan says
Thanks Abby… exactly my thought!
ANN M. says
I am coming late to this and I have seen the video. So, the male god made the female 55-60 quilter. Both are imaginary figures and ridiculous at that. This use of an all powerful being to ssell products, belief, and/or behavior is getting old. Accuquilt can keep their dies and device and I will be seling mine. Too much evil has been done in the name of god and much of it done against women. We don’t need the all powerful male (the voice is so cliche) to give us validation. Because that is the subtle message here. Or not so subtle.
Voiced here by the company’s president.