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Does It Pay to Shock? Reactions to Shocking and Nonshocking Advertising Content among University Students




Although the use of shocking content in advertising appeals has been widely adopted, the effectiveness of such communication strategies has not been empirically investigated. In two laboratory studies, conducted in the context of HIV/AIDS prevention, we examine the effectiveness of shock advertising in comparison to the commonly used appeals of fear and information. Our findings suggest that shocking content in an advertisement significantly increases attention, benefits memory, and positively influences behavior among a group of university students.

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  • Dahl, Darren W. & Frankenberger, Kristina D. & Manchanda, Rajesh V., 2003. "Does It Pay to Shock? Reactions to Shocking and Nonshocking Advertising Content among University Students," Journal of Advertising Research, Cambridge University Press, vol. 43(3), pages 268-280, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:jadres:v:43:y:2003:i:03:p:268-280_03

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    1. Selma Kadić-Maglajlić & Maja Arslanagić-Kalajdžić & Milena Micevski & Nina Michaelidou & Ekaterina Nemkova, 2017. "Controversial Advert Perceptions in SNS Advertising: The Role of Ethical Judgement and Religious Commitment," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 141(2), pages 249-265, March.
    2. Myers, Susan D. & Deitz, George D. & Huhmann, Bruce A. & Jha, Subhash & Tatara, Jennifer H., 2020. "An eye-tracking study of attention to brand-identifying content and recall of taboo advertising," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 111(C), pages 176-186.
    3. Ouidade Sabri, 2017. "Does Viral Communication Context Increase the Harmfulness of Controversial Taboo Advertising?," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 141(2), pages 235-247, March.
    4. Parvinder Pal Singh & Harpreet Singh Chahal, 2020. "Consumers Attitude Towards Controversial Television Commercials and Its Impact on Purchase Intentions," Management and Labour Studies, XLRI Jamshedpur, School of Business Management & Human Resources, vol. 45(1), pages 118-141, February.
    5. Giulia Netti, 2021. "Purchase of Consumer Behavior in the Event of Natural Disasters, Shows New Cultural Values?," International Journal of Business and Management, Canadian Center of Science and Education, vol. 14(2), pages 141-141, July.
    6. Kristina Auxtova & Mary Brennan & Stephen Dunne, 2021. "To Be or Not to Be Governed Like That? Harmful and/or Offensive Advertising Complaints in the United Kingdom’s (Self-) Regulatory Context," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 172(3), pages 425-446, September.
    7. Carmela Donato, 2021. "Disgust and preference for familiar brands," Italian Journal of Marketing, Springer, vol. 2021(1), pages 5-23, June.
    8. Hartmann, Patrick & Apaolaza, Vanessa & D'Souza, Clare & Echebarria, Carmen & Barrutia, Jose M., 2013. "Nuclear power threats, public opposition and green electricity adoption: Effects of threat belief appraisal and fear arousal," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 1366-1376.
    9. Lee, Michael S.W. & Septianto, Felix & Frethey-Bentham, Catherine & Gao, Esther, 2020. "Condoms and bananas: Shock advertising explained through congruence theory," Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, Elsevier, vol. 57(C).
    10. Žitkienė Rima & Kriaučiūnaitė-Lazauskienė Gintarė, 2019. "The Interplay of Religious Symbols and Cultural Values Theory in Advertising," Management of Organizations: Systematic Research, Sciendo, vol. 81(1), pages 119-137, June.
    11. Michael Hair & Timucin Ozcan, 2018. "How reviewers’ use of profanity affects perceived usefulness of online reviews," Marketing Letters, Springer, vol. 29(2), pages 151-163, June.
    12. Benjamin Boeuf & Jessica Darveau, 2019. "An Ethical Perspective on Necro-Advertising: The Moderating Effect of Brand Equity," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 155(4), pages 1077-1099, April.
    13. Caroline Moraes & Nina Michaelidou, 2017. "Introduction to the Special Thematic Symposium on the Ethics of Controversial Online Advertising," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 141(2), pages 231-233, March.
    14. repec:dau:papers:123456789/4232 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Sabri, Ouidade & Obermiller, Carl, 2012. "Consumer perception of taboo in ads," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 65(6), pages 869-873.
    16. Francisco Alonso & Mireia Faus & Cesáreo Fernández & Sergio A. Useche, 2021. "“Where Have I Heard It?” Assessing the Recall of Traffic Safety Campaigns in the Dominican Republic," Energies, MDPI, vol. 14(18), pages 1-13, September.
    17. Caroline Moraes & Finola Kerrigan & Roisin McCann, 2020. "Positive Shock: A Consumer Ethical Judgement Perspective," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 165(4), pages 735-751, September.
    18. Ioannis Kareklas & Darrel D. Muehling, 2014. "Addressing the Texting and Driving Epidemic: Mortality Salience Priming Effects on Attitudes and Behavioral Intentions," Journal of Consumer Affairs, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(2), pages 223-250, June.
    19. Vassiliki Grougiou & George Balabanis & Danae Manika, 2020. "Does Humour Influence Perceptions of the Ethicality of Female-Disparaging Advertising?," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 164(1), pages 1-16, June.
    20. Giebelhausen, Michael & Novak, Thomas P., 2012. "Web advertising: Sexual content on eBay," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 65(6), pages 840-842.

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