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Shock Advertising

In: English and Literature

Submitted By Lindsey007
Words 517
Pages 3
Communication is a key concept that almost everyone encounters on a daily basis. Advertising is just one approach of communication that people use to persuade an audience (The free dictionary, n.d.). Shock advertising is a marketing strategy that deliberately, rather than unintentionally, startles and offends its audience by violating norms for social values and personal ideals (Wikipedia, 2011). The Free Dictionary continues to state that the shock advertising technique is ideally intended to push boundaries and separate itself from the norm in hopes of attracting an audience and to provoke conversation. As its name states, shock advertising is usually presented in a controversial, bold, and offensive manner. Advertisers are hoping to revolutionize how one views the status quo for the sole purpose of selling a product. Further, shock advertising is created by the use of the images or words that are communicated. Shock advertising may disregard societal manners through nudity or by creating a sense of fear through brutal violence or because the product itself is deemed inappropriate (The free dictionary, n.d.). For example, the clothing brand FCUK’s creative arrangement of letters is unmistakably provocative (B&T, 2004).
Shock advertising is not only controversial because of how its message is presented, but also whether it is effective (Wikipedia, 2011). Shock is a successful means of advertising because it creates an emotional persuasion, which ultimately leads to action from the consumer (Huntington, 2009). Thus, shock is useful because it generates action from an emotional reaction, not due to the outrageous images and headlines. Shock advertising is unconsciously challenging people’s deeper emotions rather than a direct and rational response (Huntington, 2009). On the other hand, shock advertising is an ineffective means of communication (Stamler, 2001)....

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