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Shockvertising – The next big thing in marketing! – Brand Wagon News

By Avanish Agarwal

With an increasing amount of competition among brands in the media and with attention spans slowly decreasing, it is no surprising that marketing tactics are turning to the aptly named ‘Shockvertising’. A portmanteau word of ‘shock’ and ‘advertising’, it is an innovative but controversial way to catch audience attention. It is used when a strong emotional reaction is elicited from the audience using controversial and provocative content. It is an extremely bold tactic to break through the noise and clutter of traditional marketing, and one must proceed with caution when using this technique. Shockvertising has the possibility to create a lot of backlash for the brand but also makes a lasting impression in the mind of the consumer.

With recent headlines we can see that using unconventional methods of advertising like shockvertising can grab attention, shock and headlines. Bold and provocative messaging can spark controversy and cause divisive opinions, but it will also get people talking about your product or brand, both positively and negatively. This exemplifies what shockvertising can do for your brand. By leveraging controversy and shock value, brands can rise to the top in a crowded marketplace and generate buzz, spark conversations and increase visibility. We have seen brands use shockvertising time and again, with varying degrees of success.

While it can grab attention however, brands must be aware of the potential consequences and risks of shockvertising. It can cause parts of your audience and customers to cease supporting you entirely if something goes awry or if it does not resonate with their values and feelings. It can also damage brand reputation if the campaign is executed poorly. It is easy to gain attention with shockvertising, but this attention may not lead to an increase in sales, and nor does it have any long term benefits. Additionally, with increasingly tight internet usage laws, brands may even end up paying fines for misdirection or other false outcomes.

Despite these risks, many brands are embracing shockvertising as a way to stand out in an increasingly competitive landscape. One of its key advantages is that it is able to generate buzz and go viral in a way that traditional methods fail, or find incredibly hard to do. With the dominance of social media in today’s advertising industry a well executed shockvertising campaign can reach millions of people in a matter of hours, leading to brand visibility and awareness.

Shockvertising can be especially effective in capturing the attention of the chronically online millennial and gen-Z crowd. The people who have grown up constantly looking at advertising and media naturally gravitate towards content that is edgy, authentic and thought-provoking. By taking into account the background of these specific consumers, brands can cater their shockvertising strategy and content to their preferences, building brand loyalty and establishing a deeper connection with their audience over time. However, brands must be cautious and carefully straddle the line between provocative and responsible. As younger audiences can make brands, they can just as easily break them. Shockvertising should never come at the expense of decency or morality.

Shockvertising may not work for all brands considering their different target groups and end goals, but if executed well and in good taste, shockvertising can cut through the clutter of the thousands of traditional advertisements we see everyday. Shockvertising is a high risk-high reward tactic and is traditionally used by brands and governments to call attention to public service issues, health issues, or social causes like discouraging smoking or spreading awareness about injustices. Shockvertising can be offline or online, and is usually a short-term campaign of a day or two, with no prior notice.

At the end of the day, all brands would like to revolutionise the way the advertising industry works. We would not expect brands to employ shockvertising as a rule, but instead incorporate it into their long-term marketing strategy, using this tactic in combination with other, more traditional methods. Using shockvertising responsibly has the potential to reshape the way brands approach advertising and marketing, and influence the future of brand relationships with their consumers.

The author of the article is CMO at SMAAASH

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