Keywords: Religion; Advertising; Religious Symbols; Italy.
The frequency and use of religious symbols in Italian advertising is examined by analyzing the content of a large sample of advertisements drawn from popular magazines between 1969 and 2013. The findings show a long-term rise in the proportion of ads containing religion. The most common religious symbols portrayed in Italian advertising come from Christianity. There is also evidence that recent advertising has increasingly made reference to Eastern traditions, like Hinduism and Buddhism, and non-institutionalized religion. An analysis of the values manifest in the advertisements indicate that religion has become a source of creative inspiration that advertisers use without much reservation to accomplish their most diverse commercial tasks.