Scientology marketing: Give ’em what they want

All the recent talk about OT abilities raises an obvious question about Scientology: How do perfectly reasonable, intelligent people come to believe in stuff like this?

There’s an assumption that Scientologists are stupid or gullible, but I don’t think that’s true at all. L. Ron Hubbard may not have known fuck-all about nuclear physics, but he sure knew a thing or two about marketing, the purpose of which he said is “to create want and to sell something” (HCO PL 1 Jan 1977RA, MARKETING HAT). Let’s talk about how Hubbard designed Scientology to be marketed to new prospects.

I once heard L. Ron Hubbard’s marketing “tech” summed up in a single sentence: “Ask people what they want, then tell them that you have it.” Hubbard-style marketing basically involves taking a lot of surveys – surveys to find out what people want, surveys to find out what they will believe, surveys to find out what their emotions are about a given subject, surveys, surveys, surveys. “Surveys are the key to stats,” LRH wrote.

“…when we broadly offer everything we can do, it is too much. To find out what people want or will accept or will believe, one does SURVEYS.” — LRH, HCO PL 2 Sept 1979 [emphasis in original]

Everything in an ad is supposed to be surveyed, right down to the images – they must be shown, by survey, to remind people of the concept the ad is trying to portray.

Marketing to “new public” (or “raw meat” as Hubbard sometimes referred to them) involves finding out exactly what their problem is — finding their ruin. It’s similar to what happens in the follow-up interview after taking Scientology’s infamous personality test. Hubbard talks about it in HCO PL 23 October 1965, DISSEMINATION DRILL:

“…find out what their own personal ruin is. This is basically – What is ruining them? What is messing them up? It must be a condition that is real to the individual as an unwanted condition, or one that can be made real to him… Once the person is aware of the ruin, you bring about an understanding that Scientology can handle the condition… This is done by simply stating Scientology can, or by using data to show how it can.” — LRH [emphasis added]

For ads aimed at raw meat, Scientology uses survey data to find out what people feel is lacking in their lives. Let’s say surveys show that 65% of non-Scientologists are worried about the economy. Okay, there’s our survey “button.” What do people want? Survey says: Economic security. What do people associate with economic security? Survey says: A house on the beach. Resulting Scientology ad: A family on the porch of their beach house with the copy “It’s easy to secure your economic future – we can show you how. Call xxx-xxx-xxxx.”

Once you call or come in, you get funneled through the same process as other prospects, most likely the introductory film or an attempt to hard-sell you Dianetics or the Communications Course. And that’s where things start to get seriously un-kosher: No matter what your problem is, Scientology sells you the same solution.

So what if you’re not susceptible? You’ll most likely self-filter out of the system – I wrote about that process in “But the technology works!”. Once you’re funneled in to the system, it’s like driving onto the track at an automatic car wash — you get pulled along through successive steps, until you reach OT VIII… and then, like your car, you’re totally hosed.


Let’s shift gears for a moment, back to my third-favorite Scientology topic, Marty Rathbun. Remember, Marty is trying to “create want and sell something” – he sells auditing to Scientologists disenchanted with Church management. To him, ex-Churchies are “raw meat.” See if you can spot the way he communicates “survey buttons” to his potential customers.

I’m sure you saw Keeping It Real, Marty’s latest (and so far last) salvo in the Great Debate about OT Abilities.

After saying that he would only show his abilities to those who believe in them, Marty now says that while he and his wife (a new to Scientologist) enjoy telepathic communication, it doesn’t actually matter if you get OT abilities from Scientology – you should do Scientology for the sheer joy of doing it.

“What do claims, representations, and promises have to do with it? Not a blessed thing. Just like any other life endeavor, if you reach for it you might achieve it. … If you enjoy pursuing it, and you achieve a little higher ground while doing so perhaps you’ll continue pursuing it.” — Marty Rathbun

That one is bound to strike a familiar chord with Scientologists – although it’s sort of ironic that Marty, who claims the organized Church does not deliver the gains promised by LRH because it is not delivering proper Scientology, is now saying that his auditing might not deliver those gains, either.

Well, except for him and his wife and their ability to communicate without phones. Wink wink, nudge nudge.

If you believe that, I’ve got a Bridge to sell you.


23 responses to “Scientology marketing: Give ’em what they want

  1. Hello Caliwog,
    The thing that always struck me as fascinating is the complete lack of conscience on the part of Hubbard, and “professional Scientologists”/FSMs, regards ripping people off.
    Think back to the last time someone got a bad deal when working with you, or when you unintentionally shorted someone: your first impulse is to correct the problem because you would not want to be a bad person.
    But Hubbard, and people who make $ off Scientology, don’t feel the slightest remorse promising that all sorts of things will happen once people pay their money. Taking advantage of people’s weaknesses and vulnerabilities. Ever see Hubbard’s film “The Dynamics of Life” where the crippled football player leaps out of bed after reading about Dianetics?
    Hubbard (and Scientology FSMs and reges) had the ability to look right in someone’s face, perceive that person’s weaknesses and personal decencies, take advantage of them, lie right in their face knowingly, and then skip out with the money. And not feel the least bit bad about it.
    I never understood that.
    It’s like they were born without the body part that makes you feel bad about doing wrong to others.

  2. Man’s curiosity leads him to find answers – as a species demands them.

    Man is also capable of seeing what evidence lay before him and based on what he has been taught, propose a hypothetical answer that best suits the evidence before him.

    Without a scientific approach, and by that I mean examine the evidence, research it, propose a hypothesis, experiment and see if it holds up. If it does not, go back. If it does, provide identical parameters to others to test and see if it holds up.

    Prior to this era of man, we demanded leaders come up with the answers – quickly.

    In this modern age, if we wiped out the mere idea of God, it probably would not even come up as a hypothetical unless we had someone who wanted to give an answer that answered nothing and silenced every possible question that could arise.

    Man by himself is weak without excellent leadership and education. Intelligence has not risen much since 1000 BC, the only difference is that good information is being passed on.

    Eienstien was one in a million, so was Currie, Rutherford etc. but if they had surfaced 400 years ago, it is unlikely that they would have made any real contribution to mankind.

    Mankind needs a solid foundation. Religion and groups like Scientology take it away – but what does this have to do with the question of how people fall prey to religion or cults?

    Simple – we imitate our parents. Parents give us the direction. $50,000,000 says the son of the pope will never be a Muslim.

    Scientology is as stupid as other religions. Other mainstream religions preach angels, demons, the devil, God, Jesus, Immaculate conception, lives spanning 300 years plus, worlds created in days..the list goes on.

    Put them all in a kettle together and you have all the tools you need to strike fear, control and subjugation into a population. Some parts of Scientology are more creditable that other religions.

    It is Scientific fact that it is more likely life on Earth came from Aliens rather than God – although it is more likely than the above two scenarios that life developed here by itself. The idea of a God setting up shop is absolutely hoddle-podge baloney on a grand scale. So you see, some of Scientology is factually (in a sea of stupidity) a better idea than some mainstream ones.

    If there are Alien species in existence, watching Earth, they must be absolutely amazed at how a species of life can consider itself so advanced, and yet hold onto such babble. It does not do out credentials any good to be part of something bigger in this universe. If man was to suddenly create the means by which to travel to the stars, I would object to it on the basis that as a species we have so very far to go before throwing our garbage down the throats of other life.

    Admission into other schools of power here on Earth are limited to those that can show intelligence and comprehension that leaves Religion far behind – and these are doors no Scientologist will ever go through.

  3. FL, to be fair to the Rank and File, I think that Hubbard was the one with no scruples. He designed Scientology so as to relieve other people of feeling any remorse or responsibility by giving them a higher purpose.

    Although there are some Scns who no doubt were like Hubbard.

    Look at Marty Rathbun, *still* (even since my “Have you no shame?” blog entry) using the woman he helped to kill as a sales tool. One wonders if that’s because he’s a die-hard Scientologist or a man with no conscience.

    For his wife’s sake, I hope it’s the former.

    Man, I hope they don’t have kids.


  4. If you haven’t heard it before, I’d suggest seeking out the Tom Waits song “Step Right Up”

    The large print giveth and the small print taketh away.

  5. Now I know Marty has gone off and into the deep end. In one of his comments on his “OT Abilities” post he claims to be in “comm” with the dolphins in the bay by his home. Okay I was somewhat skeptical about his claim of “telepathy”with his wife, but communicating with animals, wow he’s a regular Dr. Doolittle.

  6. Totally agree, Caliwog.

    Marty’s not stupid.

    He’s positioning himself to sell the dream of OT powers without any commitment to deliver these powers as part of the deal.

    He’s doing something else as well (which, so far as I know is standard wog tech, not LRH). That’s to communicate to his potential clients that they’re very special people. They’re so spiritual they don’t care about OT powers, except as a bonus which comes from being spiritually elevated. Customers so very special deserve only the very best in spiritual ‘wins’, and the wins Marty supplies must be pretty damn special if OT powers are a mere add-on bonus.

    The third thing he’s doing is Micavige tech (I think this goes back to LRH, though). He’s telling people they’ve received faulty services (Miscavige has inserted an inplant into OT8) and telling them they’ll have to pay for corrective services.

    My impression is that Marty’s a bully and a little bit bonkers. But I’m not sure he’s really dangerous. The con goes on, but what he’s doing isn’t harmful on anything like the scale of the CoS. I can’t imagine he’s going to be able to recruit any ‘raw meat’. And in offering services to ex-CoS people, he does weaken the church.

    Or am I being too optimistic? I’d very much like to know what you think about this.

  7. “Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.” from 1984

    I think if someone has managed to escape the clutches of Scientology, that is the kind of freedom they need. To be able to look back on their experience, the tech, L. Ron Hubbard, all of it and say, “This is what Scientology is. This is what happened to me.”

    In Scientology, any problems with your own development are your fault because perfect tech is perfect. Marty gives a new reason for your lack of development — Miscavige broke the tech. I assume if you still have problems with his version they remain your fault because fixed tech is fixed.

    His group may be a soft landing but it still doesn’t let you say that two plus two makes four. At best it’s “four-and-a-half” to Miscavige’s “five”.

  8. @Johnnyd: Has Marty said whether he’s trying to sign the dolphins up for auditing?

    BTW, animals have thetans too, you know. Hubbard said that if you meet a particularly intelligent horse or dog, it’s probably an Operating Thetan taking a few years off between bodies.

    If I was an OT, I think I’d come back as a dog, just so I could lick my own… paws.


    • johnny d / thetan-x

      HA HA !!! just came review of some of the older posts and the associated comments and I absolutely concur Cali !!
      Dogs got it made !!!!!

  9. @Operatingwog:

    >Or am I being too optimistic? I’d very much like to know what you think about this.

    I think that any form of Scientology is dangerous. To me, Marty’s brand of Scn isn’t any better than the Co$s, because he still believes in disconnection, still believes in the Introspection Rundown that killed Lisa McPherson – in short, he believes in all the LRH bullshit that makes the Cult of Scientology so dangerous in the first place.

    And let’s not forget that he was *behind* a lot of the crap he now accuses DM of doing.

    But you’re right, in the grand scheme of things, it’s not such a big deal. Scientology’s numbers are not anywhere near what they say they are, and Marty’s potential client base probably numbers in the hundreds, maybe the dozens.

    And still I spent all this time… maybe ‘cos it’s just so much fun! 🙂


  10. >FL, to be fair to the Rank and File, I think that Hubbard was the one with no scruples. . .

    Dear Caliwog:
    Good point. Actually very good insight on your part. (You’re making me more curious about your background, though I read your reply to lunamoth about that on Jeff’s blog.)
    Hubbard’s approach was something like: “It’s OK to do this or that dreadful thing, because in the end, it will add up to the greater good and be worthwhile.”
    And the “higher purpose” has to be sky high so there is lots of room underneath it for some pretty dastardly deeds.
    Pretty good scam, really.
    Of course, once someone sees that the higher purpose is merely an invention, the whole approach falls apart. The tent pole is yanked out and it collapses.
    Also makes you really think twice when someone is talking you into compromising with your own feelings of honesty.

  11. lurker(not the mostly)

    I was approached in my early 20s by someone in scientology, I remember thinking that IF the powers (that OT stuff) was real, it would be great, I just didnt see how it could be real… I wanted to be true, but didn’t believe it so I didnt fall into it.
    I don’t think I had a specific “ruin” at that time,but there would have been times in my life I might have been more open to it. Glad I wasn’t in the wrong place at the wrong time.

  12. >caliwog: “BTW, animals have thetans too, you know. Hubbard said that if you meet a particularly intelligent horse or dog, it’s probably an Operating Thetan taking a few years off between bodies.”

    holy crap. I wondered how scilons explained the intelligence of animals, and why their reincarnation is always into another human. That bum really did have an explanation for everything…

  13. Rocky the Squirrel

    You’re on it ma, love ‘ya!

  14. Rocky the Squirrel


  15. It should beckon the person who hears such claims as made by Scientology “If it is true, and it has been around for 60 years, then why isn’t everyone doing it?”.

    I remember going into NY City Org last year for a joke to see how they would reg me. This red head idiot starts to tell me how the universe is trillions of years old and I can recall all of it if I wanted to. My partner and I stood there as she unloading a truck load of hog wash – all with a straight face.

    I bet LRH was an excellent poker player.

    I gotta have my shits and giggles with the indis – I have met a few here and there and they make me laugh. Indis or FZers or Martyers or Scios – they are all the same, and they are some of the most amusing lot you will ever meet – try it – but get high first as it requires you to be in a non-existent universe to even converse back with the crazy stuff that comes out of them.

    Did you know in the Sea Org that they bragged that when OT VIII was released all wars on the planet stopped? Or that OTs went and audited out the Berlin Wall? Or that OTs made Hurricane Andrew turn around? And now we have Marty claiming that Richard Reiss had something to do with Clinton and the IRS agreement (which the President had absolutely nothing to do with?). And Marty now cures Cancer – but seems to have trouble with his own smoking and the need to wear glasses, coupled with clear insanity.

    Do I feel sorry for people that follow Marty? It is really hard to feel sorry for people that refuse to think.

    The next claim from Marty will be that he will commence his own Superpower rundown and OT VIII rehab and bring back OTs as LRH intended into the real world.

    True definition of OT:

    Obvious Twit: A person/thetan that pays massive amounts of money to obtain powers seen in comic books and Sci-Fi movies; gullible and liable to believe any book written by LRH is in fact, fact and not fiction; one who ignores their civic duties, stops all studies of real knowledge and ignores their familial duties to pursue selfish interests and surrounds themselves with like minded apathetic people. Enjoys younger women with I.Q.s below the national averages – willing to take on for sexual favors in exchange for allowing them to pursue dreams best left to massive bong hits from Colombia’s finest.

    ((Picture of Marty and Mike included for visual reference)

  16. lurker(not the mostly)

    Dear Caliwog or other person who is able to translate, please read Martys imagine post, and tell this poor stupid lurker wog what the heck he said….

    All I could think of was ” Imagine, if he spoke in English.”

  17. Re: Lurker (not the mostly)
    I agree, stuff like that makes me wonder, would it not be easier to just think for yourself, without having to wonder if your doing it right?
    This is, IMO, one reason DM treats staff like *hit. It’s because he does not respect scientologists because he knows they have given up their own minds. How could ANYONE respect a person like that? IMO, DM HATES staff and SO, for that reason. He may enjoy being mean, but I think deep down, he has no respect for anyone that would stoop to any level to please him.

  18. Lurker, over at ESMB Pooks posted an interesting scenario regarding that.

    All I could imagine was Marty putting his wife “in session”. He is her auditor, isn’t he?

    I had to stop imagining after a second. I started to feel ill.

  19. lurker(not the mostly)

    It was all wa wa wa to me, till I hit the ” the auditor owns the pc” , and then I had this “Isnt that slavery?” thoughts, and then thought about how Martys wife would feel about her auditor(marty) owning her?

    I then realized I was swimming in deep water with no idea if I was even reading his words correctly, because so much of the scio talk means opposite of what the english version is..

  20. Without the claims of making OTs (cause over MEST for real, not just inside the cranium) SCN can only attract and hold people who are unable to function at a normal, average level in life. THAT is why Hubbard came up with that fable. How do you pull in otherwise, very able wealthy people?

    Pure marketing genius.

  21. Money in Scn buys you something you can not get in life:

    Power over people, and the ability to hold them at ransom. Tom Cruise has power over any Scientologist – he must love being in control.

  22. Quote

    Fifi LeToit | March 24, 2011 at 11:51 am | Reply

    ”All I could imagine was Marty putting his wife “in session”. He is her auditor, isn’t he?”

    He mentionned he at least has been , as she wanted some of what he had !!!!!!

    Quote Marty

    ” She originated getting some auditing in hopes of getting a little bit of what I had, whatever it was she saw I had. Shortly into it she saw that it was bringing her closer to taking a peek behind a curtain that she just knew must remain closed, because she just knew that whatever was behind it was formidable, foreboding, and scarier than all hell. After a little more auditing, she began to peek, and after some more began to look a little more, and after some more decided to tear the curtains down altogether. Voila, the monkey on her back that had been terrorizing her all her life as-is’d (disappeared). The clouds parted, the sun shone, and lo and behold, happiness and being became effortless ”

    I’m hurry to see her wins after her frst or next sec check by Marty

    ” did you ever had a derogatory taught about Marty”
    ”did you ever taugh of having sexual activities with another man than you husband”
    ”did youever taught of having sexual activities with another woman”
    ”did you ever masturbate”
    ”did your husband masturbate you” lol
    ”did you hide something to your husband”
    ”did you lied to your husband”
    ”do you have a secret”

    ”do you think your husband is a liar”
    ”do you think Miscavige is a good guy”
    ”did you ever planned to escape from your husband”


    Marty, please sec check me – need lof of winsssssssssssssssssss

    Oh, by the way, never tell anything about me – I know all of your crimes and sexual misconduct Moosey. ;D

    To be serious

    Co-auditing between spouses is a ”virtual murder” of their relationship.
    I’ve seen several permently dammages marriages caused by these situations
    Wich is a good thing for the Church – A permanent devotion as being a church investigator and spy on your spouse and family.
    No more intimacy and privacy is granted (Georges Orwell – 1984)
    If not the intend, than L Wrong was totally retarded.

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