The Critical 'I'

Read. React. Repeat.

Friday, July 04, 2003

"SHOCKVERTISING" AND CULTURAL MORES
There's no point in paying for advertising if it doesn't do it's job--draw attention. It doesn't have to do that in a head-spinning way; many times, less is more in terms of breaking through the ad/media clutter. But let's face it, shock value is value, and makes for more memorable experience.

The trick to outrageous advertising, or "shockvertising", is knowing how far to push the envelope before you break any taboos. (Sometimes, you do want to break those taboos, intentionally; but there's an even finer line there, where going too too far causes the ad to lose effectiveness.) A lot of that depends on which side of the Atlantic you're aiming your pitch.

No big surprise here in terms of sex being acceptable, and violence not, in Europe and Latin America, while the reverse is the case in the States. That's been business-as-usual for most of the 20th century, and points to a weird dichotomy within Western culture.