Shock, Offend and Sell
The main goal of advertisement is to attract customers, therefore to sell a product. The methods that advertisers use to achieve this goal are not always pleasant and attractive; moreover the most popular and effective advertisement technique is shock advertisement. Hundreds of advertisements are everywhere around us, including in the media, which are designed to shock us by using religious, violent, morally offensive, sexual, vulgar and other controversial images. These shocking images affect the general public greatly and fast, regardless of what kind of emotions they evoke. Unfortunately, these offensive and commonly sexual images significantly affect children and teenagers. At a first glance, an offensive ad does not induce anything but disgust and resentment, nevertheless it works. In order to figure out exactly how it affects the customers and how it benefits the manufactures, we have to look deeper into psychological essence of human behavior. The main point of shock advertisement is to be disturbing, offensive, crass, tasteless and edgy, so it captures attention by braking through media clutter. In addition, it generates media buzz through social controversy because people start discussing it on forums and social networks. Sometimes this leads to lawsuits, which are highly widespread by the media, and – voilà – that terrible and nasty advert gets popular! By then it does not matter, whether it was retained in the memory of the potential buyer in a good or a bad way; the goal was achieved: people know about the product. Some shock advertisements have positive effects. For example, many charities and governments promote anti-drunk driving and anti-drug campaigns to increase social awareness regarding problems such as: AIDS, obesity, child molestation, women abuse, etc. Shock advertisement scares the public into processing the given information more clearly and resulting in them taking action. Ironically, “shockvertising” may...
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