Daily Archives: May 16, 2013

Shock value

My three-year old daughter has discovered swearing. Three-year old style swearing. Somehow she has discovered that ‘poo’ is different from other words and so occasionally, when you ask what she’d like for tea or what she wants on her toast, she’ll tell you ‘poo’. And then she waits for a reaction. She knows there should be one.

The desire to shock and the pleasure we derive from it seem to be innate in human beings. Shocking people can be fun. Everyone from Marcel Duchamp to the Sex Pistols has made use of it and advertisers are no different. At its best, the shock factor cuts through, causes a bit of a rumpus, attracts plenty of attention to the brand and the product and is brutally effective. At its worst, it’s just a lazy and unimaginative way of getting attention – like burping loudly in a restaurant. Read more on Shock value…

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