Recent press releases and brochures from Teen Mania promoting the "BattleCry" campaign lump advertising together with MTV and "hard-core porn" on a list of things that "threaten" teenagers. Why, then, have three key people involved with Teen Mania's corporate management been secular advertising and marketing experts?
Teen Mania's parody of America's media and marketing landscape
From opening video of "Acquire the Fire" 2005-2006 season.

This recent press release from Teen Mania, produced on their behalf by the DeMoss Group, demonstrates something that's often seen in evangelical media: the lumping together of very different things that are together labeled evils or threats, in this case, to teens.

They've put "advertising to teens" at the top of a series of examples of how, they allege, teens are "targeted" and "threatened by pop culture." At least two of the three examples are supported by partisan sources:

DALLAS, April 13, 2006 - Teenagers in America have never before been so targeted and so threatened by pop culture as they are today.

  • Advertising to teens is an estimated $150 billion a year industry (PBS, 2000).

  • MTV (watched by 73% of boys, 78% of girls ages 12-19) airs (on average) 9 sexual scenes per hour and more than 8 un-bleeped profanities per hour (Parents Television Council, 2004).

  • 80% of 15- to 17-year-olds have had multiple hard-core porn exposures (Family Safe Media).

If these alleged attackers are considered truly dangerous by Teen Mania's leaders, it stands to reason that someone with a history of being heavily involved with one of these alleged evils, and who was unrepentant about their previous endeavors, would then be disqualified for leadership positions with Teen Mania.

Advertising: part of the alleged "attack" on teens
Closeup of page from one of Teen Mania's recent brochures promoting the "BattleCry" campaign. Source

The insistence that teens are somehow under attack by advertisers is continued in a brochure promoting the "BattleCry" campaign recently distributed to youth pastors. It contains the remarkably open-ended and broad generalization that advertisers are not merely an enemy, but are attacking teens by somehow disregarding "moral decay." This assumption, somehow shared by both the producers and intended readers of this brochure, is never substantiated, and appears in a section of this brochure entited "The Attack:"

With more than $128 billion dollars in their pockets, this generation has been targeted by corporate America who do everything they can to grow their brands and their profits without any regard to the moral decay of a generation.

Keeping in mind that they've labeled the act of advertising, and targeting the teen market, part of their justification for their "BattlePlan," let's look over this list of people who've held important positions in Teen Mania - one of whom was important enough to have been paid a larger salary than that earned by Teen Mania's founder, Ron Luce. One thing ties them all together - they've all worked for one of the nation's biggest advertisers, Procter & Gamble, in roles involving sales, advertising, marketing, promotions and product management.

  • Teen Mania mocks deodorant marketing
    From opening video of "Acquire the Fire" 2005-2006 season.

    George Babbes, member of Teen Mania's Board of Directors,1 was Group Product Manager with Oral-B Laboratories, The Gillette Company, 1992-93, and Brand Manager for Procter & Gamble, 1987-1992. In 1989 he was the winner of Procter & Gamble's "Promotions That Work" international competition.2 Babbes is a lifelong friend of Ron Luce, and was quoted in a Regent Business Review article saying that some of the strategic planning for Teen Mania in its early years occurred in "the 'war room' at P&G."3 Now a professor at Azuza Pacific University's School of Business and Management, his doctoral dissertation focused on, among other things, "the impact of conceptual metaphors on consumers."4

  • Tom Muccio, member of Teen Mania's "President's Council,"5 "is the recently retired President of Procter & Gamble's Global Customer Teams. He was with Procter & Gamble for 35 years in a variety of sales and marketing assignments in both the U.S. and abroad." 6

  • Rick Brenner, Teen Mania's Chief Operating Officer (2002-2004),7 "began his career in Market Research, followed by six years at Leo Burnett Advertising where he managed accounts including Green Giant and Procter & Gamble packaged soap brands. Following his tenure at Leo Burnett, Mr. Brenner spent eight years at Procter & Gamble where he was responsible for marketing and brand management for consumer products including Clarion Cosmetics, Noxzema Skin Care Products, and Secret and Sure Antiperspirants." He is now president of a Florida startup company. 8

Teen Mania's parody of MTV
From opening video of "Acquire the Fire" 2005-2006 season.

So when you watch Teen Mania attack those who advertise and market their products in the commercial/secular realm, keep one thing in mind. They aren't really attacking the reality of advertising to teenagers, since they themselves are marketers; many of Teen Mania's leaders, and now their hired secular advertising agency, were or are in the business that includes advertising to teenagers. They just want to influence and organize teenagers - for what is, over the long term, a political and social purpose - with their own set of advertised messages that frame militarism and conflict as virtues.


  1. Teen Mania's Corporate Website - Board of Directors & President's Council

  2. "Conceptual Metaphor in Consumer and Managerial Decision Making." Doctoral dissertation, George S. Babbes, page vi

  3. "The Theology and Practice of Strategic Planning," by Michael Zigarelli. Regent Business Review, Issue 13, September/October 2004, pp. 4.

  4. Faculty Profile, George S. Babbes, Azuza Pacific University

  5. Teen Mania's Corporate Website - Board of Directors & President's Council

  6. Tom Muccio bio at "Maximum Impact"

  7. Teen Mania's Form 990 (tax return) for year ending August 2004, via

  8. Executive team bios, TyraTech

Posted May 9, 2006

A few words about Teen Mania's executive salaries

With all the complaining Ron Luce has been doing lately from the stage of the "BattleCry" stadium events, about how the media and advertisers are working to make money from teenagers, we think it's fair to take a close look at the salaries that are paid to Teen Mania's founder and other executives. Now that he's outraged that others make money off teenagers, it's fair to look at how he, and others in his organization, make money off teenagers.

Continue reading >
Pages from Teen Mania's tax return, for the year ending August 2004
Salary information of 'key employees' is on page 4 of the return

With all the complaining Ron Luce has been doing lately from the stage of the "BattleCry" stadium events, about how the media and advertisers are working to make money from teenagers, we think it's fair to take a close look at the salaries that are paid to Teen Mania's founder and other executives. Now that he's saying things like, "you don't want to be manipulated by a bunch of old people making money off destroying you," it's fair to look at how he, and others in his organization, make money off teenagers.

This kind of data can be found in the IRS Form 990 tax return filed by non-profit organizations, which is available for public inspection and can easily be retrieved through websites like that of Guidestar.

Non-profit organizations are required to report the salaries of leaders and "key employees" on the fourth page of the return. Teen Mania reported that, for the year that ended in August 2004, Ron and Katie Luce, combined, were paid $162,000, and the then-Chief Operating Officer, Rick Brenner was paid $180,455. The year Brenner was paid that sum, he was about fifty years old.

Update: In the first full year of the "BattleCry" Campaign - the year that ended August 2006 - Ron and Katie Luce's combined salary rose to $183,500. Teen Mania's highest-paid employee, Doug Rittenhouse, made less than half that amount.

Posted May 9, 2006
Updated December 20, 2007

The "BattleCry" symbol representing popular culture
From video of "BattleCry" San Francisco (Friday March 24, 2006), aired on TBN

Ron Luce took to the stage of the "BattleCry" San Francisco event last March and spent a large part of a Friday evening in the company of a few real live pigs, saying "we don't want ninety-six percent of your generation living with pigs," later clarifying that he's referring specifically to "this pigpen called American culture."

Meanwhile, this spectacle had been made possible in part by a company that produces shows for secular superstars like Madonna and Nine Inch Nails, which had been hired by Teen Mania to work on the "BattleCry" event.

"BattleCry" Detroit pigpen, with special guest stars, live pigs
Overhead view of teenagers "living with the swine," from NRB Network, Friday April 7, 2006

One of the themes repeated over and over in the "BattleCry" events and propaganda involves the allegation of vileness and worthlessness of much of popular culture, and specifically, music. Here's just one example of many, from Ron Luce's book published as part of the national launch of the "BattleCry" campaign:

Music: pounding home the obscenities. The enemy isn't limited to television and movie screens, of course. Going far beyond the limits of decorum and good taste - while foregoing any attempt at true musicality - most of today's hits simply dish up steaming helpings of vileness.

In the book, Ron Luce then goes on to quote lyrics he finds offensive, including the titles and partial lyrics of two songs by Kid Rock. This, from the head of an organization that's hired Nocturne Productions, a firm that's working in support of Kid Rock's current tour.

"Nocturne Productions" listed on "BattleCry" credits
From NRB Network, Saturday April 8, 2006

Nocturne, an international production company whose website lists Madonna, BonJovi and Nine Inch Nails as some of the tours they're involved with just in 2006, is also involved in the production of "BattleCry." Nocturne Productions is named in the credits of the video coverage of the first two "BattleCry" events, aired on TBN, JCTV and the NRB Network.

Nocturne is also named as one of the top five independent contractors on Teen Mania's tax return, having been paid $91,500 for services in the year ending August 2004.

This instance of Teen Mania relying on a secular firm for essential services is not an isolated incident. Ron Luce himself has admitted that he can't "get the job done otherwise" in a New York Times article detailing the relationship between Teen Mania and Tocquigny, an Austin, Texas based ad agency whose clients include Dell, AMD and Caterpillar.

I think people have gotten more and more open to dealing with secular firms when they see that there's no way to get the job done otherwise, at least in Christian circles.

This is a startling admission from a person who advocates a black-and-white, absolutist worldview and markets an identity based on an idealized, strict brand loyalty to those in his subculture. He mandates a separation from, and an aloofness to secular content, to be maintained at great cost if necessary, that's a recurring theme across years of his live events and TV shows where he instructs teens to go home and destroy their secular CD collection.

From video clip shown at "BattleCry" San Francisco, also aired on TBN

But perhaps Luce's polarized, zero-sum-game worldview is best summarized in this one sentence from his book:

Our cause brings truth and life; their cause results in lies and death.

Ron Luce has made a career selling his idealized, strictly black-and-white world to teenagers. But when confronted with the realities of the marketplace, apparently even he's discovered a few shades of gray that he can't do without. He's taken exactly the middle ground that he berates teenagers for occupying.

Here are some other companies, both secular and Christian, that provide services to Teen Mania:

Posted April 30, 2006