When you think of Easter, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? For Christians, the word means the resurrection of Jesus. According to crosswalk.com, this Christian tradition began in AD 325 as a way to remember Jesus’ resurrection from the tomb on the third day after his crucifixion. However, for many people, the word Easter is often associated with a bunny hopping around in the woods and laying colorful eggs all around.
Easter has been considered a predominantly Christian tradition since the beginning of the celebration. However, according to History.com, many historians believe that German immigrants spread the use of the rabbit as a symbol of this celebration, although these associations stem from pagan celebrations or beliefs.
In countries where Christianity is the predominant religion, this celebration is very personal. Yet in the United States, this tradition has shifted from religion to a marketing strategy that companies use to increase sales during the season. This is the case of one of the first companies to market vacations, David C. Cook Company. This major Chicago Protestant publisher was one of the first companies to profit from the sale of appropriate decorations and inexpensive gifts, particularly aimed at religious schools where teachers gave their students small holiday souvenirs. This approach must have made the company a lot of profit since they started selling more merchandise during the holidays.
Following the success of ventures like this, Easter celebrations became what is today a marketing exploit of a religious event. Many people, especially children, only associate this celebration with chocolate bunnies, deviled eggs and egg hunts – which has no religious significance for Easter and was introduced later once the party was established in the United States.
The religious aspect has become a secondary theme when it comes to Easter. It’s a clear example of how corporations exploit all kinds of holidays to make a profit, even if it’s disrespectful to those celebrating from a religious perspective. Halloween and Christmas are other examples of how companies have marketed holidays for profit.
Trying to take advantage of a holiday, religious or otherwise, is a smart way for businesses to boost sales and try to be more relevant to these seasons. Almost every confectionery company releases a limited Easter edition for their product. Reese’s, for example, releases several Easter-themed candies that are very popular during this season. Cadbury Creme Eggs are another example of those famous Easter sweets that only come out during this season. The options are limitless, but the fact that they go above and beyond to use the vacation to their advantage speaks volumes about their ethics.
While not all companies try to do this on purpose, and some of them steer clear of religious merchandise for a reason, that doesn’t make it any less bad. Companies should try to draw a line between responsible and ethical sales strategies that take advantage of the holidays to entice the public to buy their products. I’m not saying they can’t sell products to commemorate these holidays at all, but that should only be done if businesses recognize and appreciate the holidays for what they are.