Marketplace 2.1 defines Shock advertising or “shockvertising” as the use of frightening, offensive, taboo, and emotion-provoking words, images or concepts to sell a product or an idea. It could also be referred to as the new term for the use of non-traditional photos or words in an advertisement to generate a specific emotion or response from the viewer.

Shock advertising has strength in the way that it has a very high recall value. The viewers of shocking ads are more likely to remember those ads and what they were selling than traditional marketing. This is later attributed to higher sales or awareness depending upon the reasoning for the advertisement.

Sometimes businesses and organizations run the risk of alienating the very audience they were trying to sell to. This can turn into a negative image and turn off potential consumers. It could be argued however that there is no such thing as bad publicity. One example of that would be the fake Puma print advertisement mentioned more in depth in the report. Puma is allegedly furious about the fake advertisement where it shows a girl on her knees in Puma shoes next to a man’s standing legs. The company is seeking legal action against anyone distributing the advertisement. Is Puma really complaining about the added publicity or is it just another “New Coke” campaign?

Shockvertising can have many faces. It can be the ProLife poster of the aborted fetus, to spiders on a person’s face, to a bread basket that looks like male body parts. It has many faces and all can be viewed as shocking in their own way. Shocking doesn’t have to mean gross. It can be an evident realization such as the commercial for in which a train is coming at a man who states that he does not need to worry about global warming because it is 30 years away. He steps off the track and a girl about 9 years old stands there. The evident realization is that that while we may not be affected by something our children and grandchild will be.

Some businesses and organizations that are currently using or have used this trend are;

· Dexter (Showtime series)
· Choice (a peace on streets organization)
· Auto companies such as Ford and VW
· Calvin Klein Jeans
· Dolce & Gabbana

As Jeremy Gutsche from states “it’s not that shockvertising is a new tool but the viral nature of the blogosphere is making shock a more popular tool than ever before.”


Shockvertising -
Shockvertising indicates a communication strategy - as instrument of the marketing mix - which, by the means of the shock, aims at increasing the attention of the recipient and the memorizing of the message with an aim of obtaining from him a reaction. Must be regarded as shocking what is likely to cause an emotional impact.

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Shock advertising also known as "shockvertising" is the use of frightening, offensive, and emotionprovoking words or images used to promote a product or an idea. The initial shock is used to burn the companies brand name into the viewers memory. Although these campaigns or brands may display public critisism along the way, it makes these companies products more popular and generates curiosity and interest, which translates to sales.

Shock advertising is currently being used by companies around the world. Top companies who have mastered the idea creating most ideas tastefully include: Benetton, Calvin Klein, and the anit-smoking "Truth" campaigns. It is to no surprise to Americans that sex sells. In most cases, but not all sexual images are displayed in shockvertising. Shockvertising ads are used to get people talking and show the work to others. To most companies any publicity is good publicity.

Although shock advertising may seem like a great idea in all cases of promotion, the ideas must be thought through completely. If not done properly, ads may elicit negative emotions ( ex. fear, anger, or disgust) that may cause the buyer to end up avoiding the product completely.

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