It is Ash Wednesday and this morning a friend sent me this tweet:

I talked yesterday about not “owning” a hashtag but churches are in a very interesting time trying to navigate the social space and talk to new, younger audiences in a way that connects with them. Here locally it seems to be going well, the hashtag is well managed and people are responding and taking selfies of their ashes (no word if any of them have used a holy selfie stick yet.) Nationally? Or if you do a search of the hashtag it takes 5 photos before the ham-handed arrives.

The need to connect is a real thing for brands and that is no different for churches, but as with every brand your messaging has to stay ON brand in order to connect. So, while the zeitgeist may seem too hard to ignore, as the brand manager you have to make the tough call. Taking a selfie to show you are part of a tribe, I get it.

Connecting bondage, rough sex, and safe words with Ash Wednesday…falls a bit flat. The shame of it is that Mark Alves had a bit of fame last year when he took the Ellen Oscar selfie and put ash crosses on all the actors and it took off, was part of the moment and made the connection. This one, seems like it is ripe to go very badly.

#ashtag anyone?

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