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Shockvertising – what is it and how to apply it?

Shocking a viewer is an old method of impressing them. Therefore, the use of this phenomenon in advertising had to appear sooner or later. What is shockvertising and how to use it?

What is Shockvertising? – definition

Shocking advertising, also known as shockvertising, is a unique tactic where advertisers use provocative taboos and images to grab public attention. Advertisers use this method because it creates strong feelings about the ad. Recipients have a strong feeling of advertising, which makes them more willing to share and discuss it, as well as remember it. This in turn generates greater brand awareness.

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Risk related to shock advertising

While increased brand awareness sounds like a great thing for a business, doing it through shock advertising can be risky. It has the potential to retreat because there is a fine line between content that is tastefully disturbing or shocking, or even unacceptable. The purpose of shock advertising is to follow this line without crossing it. This method of advertising aims to reach a large audience, so poorly performing advertising can damage your company’s reputation. These ads can be extremely offensive to some groups and there is a chance that the public will find them unacceptable.

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How shocking advertising affects our brains

Shocking advertising got its name because it literally shocks our brain. The themes and images contradict our preconceived social norms, making it incredibly memorable. This advertising method is extremely surprising. Due to the effect of advertising, it pays a lot of attention to the subject. The researchers used fMRI devices to assess which areas of the brain activate tremors. In a 2016 study, researchers found shock advertising triggers use of the amygdala and medial prefrontal cortex. Whereas traditional advertising does not use these parts of the brain. Scientists have found that these parts of the brain influence future health decisions. Advertisers use shock advertising because of its impact on the brain and its potential to influence decisions.

Is shock advertising effective or unsuccessful?

The question of whether or not shock advertising is effective depends on performance. Companies that take the time to understand the risks and benefits of this type of campaign are more successful than others.

Successful shocking ads – virals

Well done shocking ads can be a huge success. These ads are referenced multiple times due to the effect they have on our brains. By stimulating the amygdala and medial prefrontal cortex, advertising has a lasting influence on our decisions. Additionally, shocking advertising builds brand awareness, which is one of the most important aspects of digital marketing. Shocking ads give people something to talk about. This method of advertising makes headlines. Brand awareness is second to none, as the shocking advertisement reaches such a wide audience.

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Unsuccessful ads shocking – things out of context

Shockvertising often takes the form of an image. There is always room for interpretation when the picture comes up. Our brains process images much faster than text, and the visual aspect makes the content more memorable. Some people may look at an example of a shocking ad and think it is appropriately funny. However, someone else may be outraged by the same ad. An advertiser may have an ad with one intended interpretation, but the public may accept it differently. There is always room for this unintended interpretation when only images are used.

How to avoid failed shock ads

There are three main steps to making sure that your shocking ads don’t go to great lengths. First, think about what message your brand wants to send. If you do not want to deal with a taboo topic, be careful leaving room for interpretation in the advertisement. Overall, these ads are very risky, but understanding what the ad says about your brand or business can help minimize the risk.

Second, show your ad to many people from all walks of life. This will help you understand how different groups might interpret your ad. The more people you need to review your ad, the better you can understand how the public will interpret it.

Finally, you need to understand that some groups will find the ad offensive or inappropriate. Understand your target audience, but know that people outside of your target audience will still see your ad. You can’t please everyone, and that’s perfectly fine.

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