Shock Advertising as a Source of Public Awareness

When an advertiser has a clear and definitive message to convey to a specific target audience, the use of shock advertising could potentially provide a dramatic improvement in exposure per advertising pound. As Gallanis (2009) stated, The multi-media approach is the best way to get the most mileage out of the advertising dollar. Previously, shock advertising could be limited and networks could refuse to air controversial commercials. However, with the advent of cable, these pay stations were more willing to air these commercials and were not susceptible to the same regulations and public stations. The ads became increasingly controversial. As communication technologies evolved with the Internet, email, instant messaging and other services, these ads could be run or even reproduced on these platforms without the advertiser having to pay for these to be broadcast. For example, these controversial ads are often broadcast on YouTube reaching millions of viewers. Even if people just watch to see what the controversy is about, the message has been passed to that individual. As Hodge states (2009), We all know that judging the fine line in this ‘YouTube’ world is no easy task. Every week it seems someone, somewhere in the communications free-for-all lifts the bar on the bizarre.Shock advertising works in two key aspects: it generates discussion creating widespread broadcast of a message regardless of positive or negative reaction by the viewing audience and when done in a strategic manner, it does produce effective results. Producing a shock commercial just to be shocking is risky and can backfire. However, when an important message needs to be sent and create impact at the same time, it can be very effective.