The Science Behind Controversial Advertising.

     Okay, so the new K-mart ad (below) came out and this got us thinking. What compels people to go to such lengths to create some thing that is sure to flip people's minds?  Makes one wonder whether it is a desperate attempt to grab attention, a high risk-high returns kind of marketing technique, or just downright marketing gone bad. Considering the line of advertisements that K-mart has been coming up with, it is hard to come to the conclusion that it is bad marketing. It seems to be more of a signature style of promotion that not all people necessarily agree with. 

        Controversies in advertisements are kind of a common thing. It comes as a general observation that advertisers are trying to optimize the level of awkwardness and explicitness they put into an advertisements before they are considered to have "crossed the line". Of course we understand shock values in ads but the so called shock element should not come as a heart attack  to the fainthearted. And the funny thing is that this is not an exaggerated statement, considering some of the recent ads that came out.

Toyota Prius has a new target market. 

     It seems that if the advertisement is perfectly aligned with the imaginary line that you are 'not supposed to cross', it would be 'just another advertisement', but actually going a step forward could generate a relatively higher positive response as compare to the negative. So the idea is to essentially set the line a bit further than what is considered socially acceptable.   
Burger King knows its metaphors.

      As long as we're on the subject of high risk-high returns, we're going to blindly claim that there are more fun loving people in the world than
sulky ones based on no scientific survey whatsoever (unless you count YouTube likes and comments as a survey). People do enjoy a good laugh every once in a while, and if you, as an advertiser,manage to succeed in cheering them up on one of those blue days, well, you've done your job, and your company would have a higher impact on their lives. Advertisers who are consistent in delivering an ad within the confines of hysterical and amusing always wins the audience over as long as it regulates its level of offensiveness. It's not like you can say anything and get away with it. But lets not forget that this technique is not for everyone. It does have its share of pitfalls. Yes you may score a viral video and a heck load of fans but you will come across "them haters" every once in a while, and if you are the kind of person who would like a squeaky clean reputation, throw this idea in the dustbin now.

    Unless companies have a lot of money to back up a risky ad, they are better off doing something normal and safe. These type of ads are generally opted by people who want to make a statement at all costs, but not confined to them. Companies on a downward decline also seem to adopt the same to get themselves back on the map, kind of like what we've discussed before, 'go big or go home'.

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