Beyond the Doorstep

The multifaceted marketing methods of Jehovah's Witnesses

Jehovah’s Witnesses employ various methods to spread their message. From traditional door-to-door visits,  literature distribution, and many different revenues of public witnessing. What are the motivations behind these proselytizing practices? As any organization/corporation enacts, they want to bring in members by spreading hope- including a contract. (disclosure in the unseen print.)

In this article, I’m going into the organization’s Marketing Strategies with changing publication covers, Cart Witnessing, and telephone witnessing.

Is it Possible?

The Watchtower magazine was first published in 1879, and Awake! was introduced later in 1946. These magazines have been key instruments in the dissemination of the beliefs, teachings, and messages of Jehovah’s Witnesses for many decades. The specific content and format of these magazines have evolved, reflecting changes in the organization’s approach and priorities.

There’s been word that certain departments are presently engaged in crafting a novel public periodical poised to supplant both the Watchtower and Awake editions. The publication is slated to grace the public sphere bimonthly, ushering in a new era.

Plans in the next few years are underway to exclusively host scientific and secular content from the Awake! on Jw. org, following the discontinuation of the magazine. Legacy editions of public Watchtower and Awakes will persist in their role for public witnessing until depletion within the walls of local Kingdom Halls.

This ambitious project, entailing meticulous design of cover art, is veiled in a timeline yet to be unveiled by the Governing Body. The nomenclature of this forthcoming publication remains a mystery, adding an element of intrigue. A sense pervades that the Governing Body may orchestrate its debut at the Annual Meeting of 2024. This information was given by a source, but we will see.

This is a 2014 Awake “Keys to a Happy Life” and as shown below as well, They have changed the covers for different African Nations, for example, Twi, the Ghanaian Language in Ghana, Africa.

It’s crucial to recognize that the line between religion and corporation can blur, and legal and social perspectives vary. However since the Jehovah’s Witnesses Organization was in effect they made it known in many of their publications that they were not going to commercialize as other religions do, nor will they heavily market their religious beliefs. Haven’t they though?

While other religions often offer promises of hope, peace, and future rewards, it’s crucial to examine the true costs associated with these religions.

In this case, the Jehovah’s Witness organization. Let’s compare the fundamental ideologies of the promises they give of paradise and resurrection-like products. 

If there’s a product, there is a cost. What are the costs?

Well, they extend beyond mere financial contributions, which is still a part of it. This organization expects complete dedication and demands your unwavering devotion. Devotion ties in with expectation, similar to a marriage,  caring for a child, or building up a career. In this case, involving religion, it is not only sacrificing your time and energy but your heart, mind, and every aspect of your life. The organization gives you instructions and examples regarding finances, friendships, family relationships, personal choices, how you should think, how you should feel, and where your time should be spent.

The Cost

 If you do not accept and invest in the product they are selling, – in this manner being baptized, abiding by the rules of the Governing Body, attending meetings regularly so you will not become ‘Spiritually weak’- you face the prospect of death and divine punishment. This divine punishment equals being disfellowshipped, outcasted, loss of friends and family, and at times financial aspects since many witnesses livelihoods are intertwined with the organization. This facet is both disconcerting and ethically questionable.

Below are just a few examples of the vast amount of publications that the organization produces to coerce their rules into your everyday life.

Marketing by: Publications

Parenting your children

Your Time

Your money

Your mental health

Your friendships

Your Education


Marketing by: Cart Witnessing

Cart witnessing is fairly new, starting in the year 2001. Endorsed by the Governing Body, In France, they started by initiating trials of various public witnessing methods- one of them successfully being Carts. Since then they started cart witnessing in New York and it grew into a normal form of witnessing around the world. There are now delegated elders in major cities whose responsibility is to create schedules and routines to keep up to date with the organized hub the organization uses to track magazine’s places in what location, with how many carts.  There are now around 165,000  carts worldwide that their members use, positioning themselves in high-traffic public areas such as parks, shopping centers, and transportation hubs.

The Witnesses are instructed to not stop every passerby, so nowadays the Witnesses typically stand or sit next to their cart and wait for someone to approach them.

For example, on February 9th, 2024 Fox5 News did a puff piece on Jehovah’s Witnessing using the marketing tactic of cart witnessing. They set up their carts in front of the buzzing strip of Las Vegas, purposely to be seen by the mass crowds there for the Superbowl. A Jehovah’s Witness couple was interviewed stating that 1,000 Witnesses took part in the cart witnessing on the strip.

Though witnesses are advised not to listen nor read news reports of the world, There were hundreds of comments from Witnesses elated about their service being recognized.

Along with the hundreds of comments from Jehovah’s Witnesses on the video, there were also hundreds of comments from peaceful former Jehovah’s Witnesses. The comments contained the dangers of being involved with the organization, and also helpful sites to look up if they would like to know more.

Marketing by: Telephone Witnessing

Telephone Witnessing began in the 1970s, the 1st reference to telephone witnessing featured in a 1973 Article ‘Presenting the Good News​—By Making Good Use of the Telephone.’

Throughout the years though their routines for telephone witnessing have changed. 

 In 2020 Jehovah’s Witnesses in Brazil adopted a new approach to their outreach efforts in response to the suspension of their public ministry. They started actively engaging in systematic calling and texting groups, reaching out to random cell phone numbers. Individuals carrying a cell phone could find themselves receiving unexpected calls or text messages from random Jehovah’s Witnesses, disrupting various aspects of their daily lives.

Many who have voiced about the telephone witnessing tactic express its invasion of privacy. 

This seems incongruent with their persistence in intruding upon the privacy of individual citizens. This juxtaposition raises questions about the balance between respecting personal boundaries and the zeal to share their beliefs, even in the face of evolving circumstances.

Below is a letter sent to congregations in Brazil on the guidelines for Telephone Witnessing. This has been google translated.

Another invasion of privacy with Telephone Witnessing: Zoom group calls

A former Jehovah’s Witness named Alice in the U.S. talks about her experience watching her Stepmother, an active Jehovah’s Witness perform Telephone Witnessing while on Zoom in front of several other witnesses.  This notion started during the COVID pandemic when the only form of communication for meetings, bible studies, and service was through telephone and Zoom. 

“It was very odd. I walked into the house and noticed my Stepmother talking on the phone, but in front of a group of Witnesses through Zoom, at least 10. Later on, I asked her about the process of this setup and why was she calling someone on the phone in front of witnesses. She responded “It’s telephone witnessing, we take our turns calling the next number from a list emailed to us. The rest of the group is muted on the screen, while you are unmuted. The phone is on speaker, and everyone listens to your call. If needed we can even get tips on how we could have done better afterward, or we move on to the next person in line.” So not only are you getting called by this stranger preaching to you at any given time, but many people could be listening to the call as well. They also all have your number on file and talk about the phone call in the group afterwards. It’s a huge invasion of privacy.”

Other Marketing ways by Merchandising

"The Real Life Headed to Paradise "Board Game created by a Jehovah's Witness merchant
Various products marketed by Jehovah's Witness members
"Bible Taboo" card came creating by a Jehovah's Witness merchant

These games are not created nor marketed by the Organization itself but by members.

In the intricate tapestry of organizational dynamics, Jehovah’s Witnesses find themselves deeply immersed in a culture that shapes not only their beliefs but also the very strategies they employ. The level of commitment observed often extends beyond mere dedication, venturing into a realm where individuals are profoundly influenced, shaping and reinforcing collective ideologies.

Within this environment, a form of cognitive allegiance emerges. This phenomenon encapsulates a state where members, willingly or unwittingly, internalize the organization’s narrative to such an extent that it becomes a fundamental part of their identity.

This deeply ingrained commitment often prompts the creation of additional marketing strategies. On Etsy, eBay, Facebook- and other social media outlets Witnesses have made jewelry, games, toys, cards, gifts, and more to express their commitment to the organization. 

 These strategies aren’t merely promotional tools; they evolve as extensions of the collective mindset, designed to propagate and solidify the organization’s principles. In this complex interplay of belief and strategy, the members contribute to the development of marketing approaches that serve as instruments for the organization’s continued influence.

Picture of Miss Usato

Miss Usato

Aiding Transparency to Watchtowers teachings. If you have additional information about this topic or would like to reach the author- Please email [email protected]

Watchtwower Examiner's posts