It’s shockvertising!

Kirit JAsani

Kirit JAsani

Broadly, an element of shock helps in differentiating your communication. In major cases, it also makes the communication more memorable and grabs immediate attention. But shock is not an easy element to deal with.

If shock is a dominating factor in your advertising than your ads can fall in shock advertising or shockvertising category. By definition it means, ‘deliberately, rather than inadvertently, startles and offends its audience by violating norms for social values and personal ideals’. So, if an ad disregards a tradition, intentionally challenges social or moral code, displays images or words that are horrifying, terrifying, or repulsive it should be seen as shock advertisement.

Horny poleHeavy use of shockvertising is observed in public policy, service, health and cause segments. Here ads are designed to grab attention and create a buzz so awareness of a particular issue becomes a point of focus and it can cut through the clutter of messages. One such public issue is noise pollution resulting from ever increasing vehicle traffic and excessive honking. To address this issue, somewhere in May 2015, 93.5 Red FM in association with the Mumbai Traffic Police launched a campaign ‘Don’t be horny’. Under this initiative Radio Jockeys (RJs) from Red FM talked and discussed various aspects of noise pollution, especially the problem of honking on Mumbai streets with all the listeners, traffic authorities and doctors. In the month of June 2015, Lions Club Thane in association with Thane Traffic Police replicated the same campaign in Thane. Towards the end of 2015, Ahmedabad witnessed many pole kiosks with message ‘DON’T BE HORNY’.

Good initiative! But I am sure this headline must have put many parents and elder members of family in an awkward situation, when being asked by their kids, what is horny? Primarily horny is used for its vulgar meaning of feeling great sexual desire. In no way, it means to make a loud noise using vehicle horn or excessive use of horn or a person who uses a horn beyond a reasonable limit.

Further, perceptual defense becomes of prime importance here. Perceptual defense is the tendency for people to protect themselves against ideas, objects or situations that are threatening or disturbing. This means, if a consumer finds a certain kind of advertising content threatening or disturbing, that message will be filtered out. In many cases, an acronym of French Connection United Kingdom – FCUK is observed as offensive or disturbing; the same way horny might be considered as disturbing by many. For this reason the message ‘don’t be horny’ may get filtered out.

Therefore, be extra conscious, if your communication contains an element of shock. Also don’t use shockvertising too frequently considering its long-term effect on brand.

Wordpress white

Advertisements

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

One Response to “It’s shockvertising!”

  1. Raju Patel Says:

    Good article

    Like

Comments are closed.


%d bloggers like this: