Why does controversial advertising work so well? Or does it?

I am doing an essay for college. I need pros and cons for this type of advertising. What about things like pharmacutical products, fast food places? Or how about the "Smiling Bob" ads? It seems any product or service advertised can become a controversy. Any input on subject would be helpful.

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5 Responses to “Why does controversial advertising work so well? Or does it?”

  1. Cheney says:

    Because you remember them. Just like with negative campaign ads.

  2. filmmake says:

    I have to agree with shadouse, “Because you remember them”. Anything ‘shocking’ in any advertisement sticks with a person when they see that product. The easy thing to do is just think of company’s, or drive down a street and see company’s. If you see a Burger King, what comes to your mind (That ugly King guy in there ads) If you see a Jack-in-the-box, what comes to mind (That big headed Jack pushing is new items) As for pharmaceutical products (drugs) Lots of those company’s like to make it look like there Drug is “natural”. They use nature things in there ads such as Bees, Deer, or any animal that is “cute” to sell there drugs. The problem with today’s society is that company’s have to be careful as to not offend anyone with there ads, though not intentional. All company’s have to advertise there product and be Very careful that it not touch a key word “Race issue” Though most people today here in the USA are not into the Race issue, there are still racists groups like the NAACP and others that keep the race issue alive. Case in point: The New york shooting of a groom by police. The cops involved in that shooting where black cops too. If they all where White cops, It would be riots in the street! Welcome to the advert world. It sucks!

  3. calamines says:

    It’s easy to confuse “controversial” with “memorable” or “different”What advertisers want is “memorable” or “different” – like the guy above said, very few intentionally seek out controversy, and they are usually the startups /mavericks. I remember the SuperBowl ad for Outpost.com a few years back where they shot hamsters out of a cannon against a wall with a hole in it, and always missed the hole. Clearly it was intentional (fake) controversy. But did the ad work? I don’t know… and that’s the problem with an essay based on your premise – controversy is in the eye of the beholder, and “work so well” is something that ad agencies and clients are always bickering about. Without a common, clear definition of “controversial” and “works” you’re just spouting gneralities.The direct response marketers are the ones who meticulously test and measure everything, and their stuff is uniformly non-controversial. Salesy, hype-ey, over the top, yes. Controversial, no.Good luck,Scott

  4. beetlestone says:

    After twenty years in advertising, I can assure you only truly desperate people set out to do controversial ads intentionally. The controversial advertising you cite stems not from the ads themselves, but from the products. There are a great many people lined up against the pharmaceutical and fast food industries, and pretty much anything they say in their advertising is going to be attacked as misleading, self-serving, and just plain evil.As for advertising that intentionally courts controversy, like I said, that’s a sign of desperation. And the truth is, it’s done so infrequently that I cannot think of a single instance. I can tell you, however, that no reputable advertising agency would want to be a part of that. There are any number of “guerilla” tactics a smart agency can come up with for a client with a small budget, but trying to provoke a controversy is not one of them. An agency has many clients and will never risk offending one client at the expense of another. You always have to consider your business first.Suppose, for instance, you ran an ad agency. A small client gives you their account and your creative team comes up with an idea that everyone knows will get a tremendous amount of attention because it’s obvioulsy going to offend a lot of people people. The small client will probably be happy because he stands to get a lot more attention than he otherwise would. But you as the agency owner have to consider whether or not your other clients will be equally as offended – offended enough to move their accounts elsewhere.So, like I said. Courting controversy for its own sake is rarely if ever done. And it’s never done intentionally by reputable agencies. Most ocntroversy stems not from the advertising, but from the product or service itself – tobacco, pharma, fast food.

  5. twigful says:

    The main objective of advertisers if for you to remember their product. They will use cute, clever, emotional and controversial ads to try to get you to remember their product. Controversial works to a point. The point where controversial becomes objectionable is where the ad stops working. Advertisers don’t always know where that line is but they sure know when they cross it.Pharmaceutical companies are all trying to get you to pressure your doctor into prescribing their new miracle cure for condition that in many cases they made up to begin with.