My attention was recently drawn to a billboard shock advertisement in Russia which vividly portrays the consequences of drinking and driving and driving dangerously.
This billboard is a similarly executed billboard campaign that ran in New Zealand that formed part of of my analysis for my masters thesis. The billboard, in its shocking and gruesome creative execution undoubtedly wields the potential to literally stop drivers in their tracks (excuse the pun) and cause them to reconsider having ‘one for the road’ as the advertisement translates from Russian.
The advertisement again shows the potential for shock advertising to act as a major catalyst in changing peoples habits and influencing human behaviours that society may deem as taboo and in need of change.
This advertisement was part of the UK wide Think! initiative to highlight the awareness around safe driving. Fear appeals and social marketing causes have long been recognized for their impact when used in tandem. Changing behaviours through eliciting fear: hard hitting stuff.
The Montana Meth Project was a number of advertisements that were run in the Montana area in an effort to curb the increasing usage of the drug meth among the younger population. The advertisement campaign aims to highlight the social consequences of using the drug. Dennis Taylor, the Project’s executive director said the ads are supposed to ‘hit you right between the eyes’. He says he hopes a change in attitude about the drug will lead to changes in behaviour.
In New Zealand in an attempt to highlight issues around safe driving, particularly during rain resulted in this extreme advertisement campaign. After a particularly wet season road deaths had risen considerably. The advertisement here bleeds when it rains.
- Shock advertising and fear appeals retain the potential to act as a means of discussing social issues that may be considered taboo subject matters or those which may be ignored by the wider public. Some drink driving awareness advertisements have been seen to be extreme but this has also meant that the social issue has become an everpresent topic of debate in the public domain. This in turn aids in the taboo subject matters being discussed more freely and social issues and anxieties faced up to and dealt with.
In New Zealand, after a particularly wet season road deaths had risen considerably. The advertisement here bleeds when it rains. When it rains, red liquid pours out of the billboard and out of seemingly cuts on the child’s face.
- Violent material is most often used in advertising in a similar way that sexual explicit material is used; to gain attention and notoriety. Much of the use of violence in advertising in Ireland exhibits itself in the prevalence of video game or sporting events on television or other media forms.
“HELLO. France welcomes her English friends. We look forward to a nice 100th anniversary match.”
Some of the advertisements I analysed in my dissertation included: