Designer Mind Virus
A designer mind virus is a distinct Mind Virus that has been expertly designed for the purpose of Viral marketing. These types of designer memes are usually created by neuromarketing experts like Mark Joyner, Russell Wright, Sue Bell, Seth Godin or successful advertising and branding agencies (Madmen.) Madmen- or Madison Avenue Agencies with a grasp of evolutionary psychology and neuroeconomics, are responsible for the creation of these designer cultural viral memes that permeate and more often than not, toxify our minds with unwanted and often unrecognized input and unwanted behavioral modification. Russell Wright of Epimemetics LLC claims that designer mind virus can be used to liberate humanity in the same way it is predominantly used to bind humanity.
There is a distinction between mind viruses that arise spontaneously (programmed by sexual evolution) and ones that are invented by human propaganda experts. (See Cognitive Dissonance and Existential Cognitive Dissonance)
We call the naturally arising social memes culturally determined viruses and the human-crafted ones 'designer' mind viruses. This is a huge topic that extends beyond the scope of this entry. See Cultural Determinism.
A designer mind virus is carefully crafted to infect people with a set of memes that alter their neurochemistry (primarily by increasing dopamine). Many mind viral memes include in their "packet" a moral imperative to "witness" or "prosthelytize" or "copy" themselves and this is how Designer Mind Viruses spread throughout the population. The engineering of a successful religion that could survive for many generations (regardless of how silly the belief) requires the additional "conversion" or "prosthelytization" meme package in order to infect the population on a large scale.
"Religion is the Opiate of the Masses"
Designer viruses and cultural viruses can be equally damaging to your pursuit of happiness, although for many people it doesn't feel as bad to have your life ruined by a natural set of circumstances as it does to have some manipulative no-goodnik get the best of you. But despite the difference in perception, the effect of these two kinds of mind viruses is the same: you unwittingly have a portion of yourself diverted from what you might otherwise be doing with your life. Instead you become devoted to doing the work of the mind virus.
Please be advised that Russell Wright considers all forms of exoteric religion, as well as most new religious movements (NRM) to be designer mind viruses.
Please also see the book The Moral Landscape by Sam Harris.