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Brand advertising – Shockvertising

Creating an emotional connection is crucial to effective marketing campaigns, one common technique is to arouse the feeling of shock in what today’s society calls ‘shockvertising’. Some of these advertising campaigns can often really push the limits of what could be considered an effective visual. Ranging from print ads, to TV commercials, online virals and guerrilla marketing campaigns, many are disturbing and most controversial. We did post a blog late last year on this very subject, with a particular focus on the advertising campaign produced during the mid 90s for retail brand ‘United Colours of Benetton’.


Well for this post we thought we’d highlight this further and look a little deeper at other brands that push the boundaries of our minds and creativity.

Regardless of one’s own interpretation, these ads do what they’re meant to do, evoking emotion in order to create buzz.

They get people talking! The ads circulate and the brand name is mentioned repeatedly and awareness is brought to the company, whether you agree with the term or not, these advertising campaigns rest on the saying that “all publicity is good publicity.”


First off, JBS mens underwear new campaign employs the slogan “Men do not want to look at naked men”.
So… they created an advertising campaign depicting partially-nude females in a super naughty, super provocative (maxim-like shoot!) that borders on softcore porn.


The provocative print ads depicted a nun, a secretary, maid and nurse getting down and dirty with JBS underwear. Apparently there is a video ad to back up the printed campaign! Featuring a female model wearing nothing but JBS mens briefs, walking around her apartment and doing what men ‘usual’ do… what ever your take on it, she’s seen peeing, spitting, burping, scratching her ass, eating cereal with beer, and all the other stuff men can often be guilty of doing.


Woman on Photocopier


Woman on Toilet


Secondly an advert which was produced for automotive giants ‘Toyota’.
Who think that sometimes you gotta overlook and forgive a man’s wrongdoing, as long as he is driving a Prius!

This new Toyota Prius campaign uses a backdrop of three pretty immoral acts with the tagline, “Well, at least he drives a Prius.”
‘Killer’ shows a man dragging a dead body into the lake. ‘Lover’ shows a wife making out with the gardener while the husband is at the doorsteps (How very Desperate Housewives). And ‘Prostitute’ shows a man in a Prius chatting up a street hooker.

These ads aren’t actually official, they were created by art director David Krulik (Bed & Breakfast Advertising Agency) as an unsolicited project during his spare time to enhance his portfolio and gain word of mouth.

The ads were photographed by Luke Stettner.

One example that push the boundaries too far, was a controversial ad campaign that sparked much debate!
It’s an ad for Running Free support bras. It needs to be noted that they were not actually created by Running Free. DDB had pitched the idea, but the bra company refused to be associated with the imagery.

The campaign features three photos: a woman with a broken nose, a woman with a black eye and a woman with missing teeth. Obviously, from injuries by their bouncing assets while running. The tag line is “Support bras, now available.”


Running Free Support Bras 1

Running Free Support Bras 2

Taking a political stance, we like this example of pushing the boundaries of political science and genetics in order to convey a message.
The Photoshopped picture is from an ad put out by Hogeschool-Universiteit (or ‘HUB’ for short!) The higher education institution in Brussel Belgium seeks to increase attendance by offering prospective students a college and university in one and by asking the question, “Why choose if you can combine?” It produces quite a combination!


Hub Shock Campaign


An on this note of celebrity driven shockvertising, here’s an example of how it really can make you think and make a difference.


Jessica Alba Electoral Advertising Campaign

Jessica Alba shunned her sexy film persona to pose bare-faced and tearful in a Hannibal Lecter-style mask. The advertisement was produced to urge young Americans to register to vote or face being ‘silenced’, hence the ‘Silence of the Lambs’ theme.


The tagline reads: “Only you can silence yourself. Make them hear you. Register to vote now.”


This advertisement came just one month after Jessica Alba’s previous ad for the ‘Declare Yourself’ campaign, in which she appeared naked, bound and gagged in black duct tape.


For advertising on a more light hearted level, please head over to the advertising section on our website.

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Until next time bloggers…



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