The ‘Tightrope’ That Shock Advertisements Must Walk

The image below highlights the in-built paradox with the functions of shock advertising. The advertisement must be suitably set to shock whilst also having to be considerate of the mass population and not offend any particular segment. The complexity of this issue with shock advertising is further complicated by having to overcome the ‘immunity barrier’ of the population.

A theme prevalent in discussion so far is the ‘tightrope’ that shock advertising must walk. This is continually being redefined with progression and evolution of societal and cultural standards and norms. Through the proliferation of shock advertisements, it is almost causing the bar, or ‘tightrope’, to be lowered in society.


Norms, values and expectations all contribute to shape the dynamic nature of this ‘tightrope’ in society. This further reinforces the notion that shock advertisements need to be continuously refined in order to walk this delicate ‘tightrope’ and not overstep societal boundaries in the extreme.


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