Fear Appeals in Shock Ads: A Vehicle to Discuss Social Issues

  • 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.