This project aims to study the concept of controversial advertising along with examples of different ads that have been regarded as controversial. The Ads have been viewed along with brief description of the origin, content and the outcome.
Advertising is any paid form of non-personal presentation and promotion of ideas, goods, or services by an identified sponsor. It is regarded as an important tool of marketing and communication since it caters to a large audience in the form of a medium.
We are exposed to thousands of commercial messages every day in one form or another, for bringing different brands and their products or services to our notice for recognition and informative purposes. This effort of advertising results into persuasion of the viewer to act in accordance with the message that it delivers, however the advertisement has to have a strong impact for the viewer to result into such desired results. When the viewer is seen to be functioning for beneficiary purposes of the brand being advertised, the campaign is said to be successful, i.e., if the viewer becomes a consumer, the advertising is considered as effective. In order to do this, the agencies that undertake operations and set up campaigns that broadcast their ads and preview them through various means such as TVC’s, internet, billboards and radio to grab the attention and instill the idea of the ad. Advertising has a major role to play in the contemporary society. The making of an ad copy, its message, its illustrations and the product advertised the appeal-used all these have a social flavour. Advertising affects society and gets affected by it. It is therefore, necessary to use this weapon with caution to avoid a corrosive effect on social values.
Shock (Controversial) advertising or Shockvertising is a type of advertising generally regarded as one that deliberately, rather than inadvertently, startles and offends its audience by violating norms for social values and personal ideals. Such advertising is usually seen hosting graphic content like gore, obscenity or anything that defies the social or moral code and hence achieves responses of shock and awe leading to the formation of a controversy. Such an advertisement will certainly grab the attention of many and will be easier to remember compared to other ads, but at the expense of change in people’s attitude towards it. In other words, there will be recognition but the feel towards it might not be at the positive end and might inspire people to take action against it, therefore ruining the whole campaign. There are numerous brands that have resorted to this kind of advertising and managed to run successfully without much interference such as French Connection(FC UK), but the society has criticized others greatly, for instance Virgin Mobile(IPL abuses). The theory of Selective Perception comes into play when understanding the effects of such advertisements, in which people choose, organize and evaluate features of their environment therefore having their own interpretations of the ad. However, when people view the ad in the said manner, they turn blind to some crucial aspects and see only what they want in a subconscious manner depending upon their perceptual filters supplemented by their previous experiences.
Shockvertising has been known to cause branding problems in the longer run, as the content seen is usually not viewer friendly and hence is not invited by people. This not only affects the brand loyalty but also has a great impact on the society which retaliates and hence causes problems to the reputation (image) and the economy along with it. Controversial advertising has evolved into a form of art and is recognized globally in today’s world and stands true to its essence, i.e., Controversy.
Nike – St. Rooney
Advertising Agency: Wieden+Kennedy, United Kingdom
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