Implicit Quality of Surprise and Shock

Due to the fact that shock advertisements have the implicit quality of surprise and shock, they are often deemed to be more effective and memorable. Similarly, the respondents pointed to these qualities for justifying the use of shock tactics in advertising.

I think some of it is that it catches your attention, it is the surprise element of it when you see the advertisement.’

Yes definitely the surprise element is 100% shock. If you can see what is going to happen then you won’t be shocked and therefore the ad wasn’t clever enough.’

‘Yea that surprise thing. And it’s that thing that when you see it you will put it up on Facebook or Twitter it and tell your friends to check it out. Either it’s f****d up or its hilarious or even just look at it and tell me what you think!’

Although it can be said to be particularly advantageous to use shock advertisements for their surprise and shock potential, this must also come with a footnote. The respondents’ insights shows that advertisers must recognise that shock is the primary appeal being used to hold the attention of people. This causes the ever-present issue in advertising to re-submerge, which is the need for creativity and originality in new advertising campaigns. By its very nature surprise and shock will cause peoples threshold levels to be lowered somewhat by repeated exposure. But due to these qualities, shock advertisements retain a greater potential for advertisement recall and the ability to ‘stick in [your] mind’ as each respondent put it.

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