Shock Advertising!

There is a new trend in advertising, and frankly I don’t like it.

Too many years ago than I care to remember I informed my parents that after my GCSE’s I was going to go full time at my Saturday job in a sports shop.

“Fine” my mother said. “We’ll sit down and work out what your contribution to the household bills will be. Unless you stay in education. Then we will support you.”

A few quick sums and and it didn’t seem such a good idea. Not having a Scooby Doo what to do with my life I chose Business Studies. One of the modules was Advertising. I loved it and had visions of working at one of the top Ad Agencies. It didn’t happen, but I still enjoy a good advert. I’m not too impressed with these shock adverts.

Some firms like Paddy Power regularly use images in press and poster advertisements to cause controversy and get people talking. Like the one below.

This was the most complained about advert in the UK in 2002. They maintain the odds were on which one crosses the road first, not which one gets hit first!

This Christmas there was, as usual, a big anti drink driving campaign run by the RSA. What sets it apart from previous campaigns was that it centered around the death of a 4 year old boy, Ciarán Treacy, who was hit by a drunk driver and killed.

The mother was featured, as was the nurse who helped try to save this poor boy’s life. She even told about how he died in her arms. There was video footage of Ciarán shot by his parents when he was still alive.

Now I get the reasoning behind using real people and events. The hope that hearing and seeing these peoples heartbreak will make someone think twice about drink driving and not do it.

The problem is, as an advert it is too upsetting. Normally I watch adverts. Some of them are brilliant. How many YouTube hits did Max the dog get the day it was aired? Kevin the carrot made the run up to Christmas more entertaining. Meteor have had some brilliant ones. I still have the odd watch of their hamster adverts every now and then for a giggle.

Guinness are well known for their striking cinematic advertisements.

The main reason for an advertisement  is either brand awareness or to get you to take action!

Unfortunately the only action this ad did for me was to make me turn over. Perhaps the message would have been better if it was actors talking about a fictitious child killed by a drunk driver.

I can’t show video but here, is a link to the Irish Times where you can view the advert.

One of the road safety adverts that still sticks in my mind is one from years ago, a small child playing in a garden and a car loses control at speed and rolls in slow motion, killing the child. It sticks in my mind some 15 years later!

Is it just me or do you think this sort of advertising is a step too far!


14 thoughts on “Shock Advertising!

  1. It’s a fair point Alan. I too turn them (drink drive ads I mean) off when they air, not because I’d cold or unsympathetic to the poor family that just lost their child , simply because my gut/heart/head can’t take it. (I do however think the Paddy Power add above is quite funny!).

    The thought of it ever happening to my nips doesn’t even bear thinking about. Ever parent will agree I’d imagine. Personally, I don’t drink & drive, I never have. But there are still loads of idiots that think it’s OK to do so and the ads you mention above are tailored for them. Let’s hope they do look at them and think twice before having a feed of pints and getting behind the wheel. #wineandboobs

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes Paddy Power ads are more in the Shock Jock category. I know some people are offended but that’s different.
      Yes I’m the same never drunk and drove and never would.
      Hopefully the people who need to wake up, do watch it and change their behavior.
      Thanks for commenting :mrgreen:


  2. I can’t face watching them either, ads like that are heartbreaking.I struggle with starving kids/childline ads etc as well.Awful to think how many kids go through such horror.I won’t drive if I’ve had any alcohol at all.I do know someone who got caught 3 times over the limit, how he didn’t kill anyone is a miracle but thank god he didn’t.Idiot. #WineandBoobs

    Liked by 1 person

    1. After reading your link up post Julie I’m not surprised you don’t like them.
      I just think there is another way of getting the message across without having to resort to showing that poor mother’s pain on our TV screens.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. So interesting that you’re writing about this, Alan because my OH and I were just having this very conversation. That ad with Ciaran Treacy was seen by my six-year-old at the cinema when he went to see Rogue One and it really had an impact on him. He brings it up every other day. One might argue that he’s too young for Rogue One but he’s a Star Wars nut and wild horses couldn’t have kept him away. Sadly, afterwards, he was talking about the ad more than the movie. In fairness, it’s a tough ad for someone of any age to watch. I know that this kind of advertising works but yes, it can be definitely hard to stomach. I guess if it makes people think about being stupid on the roads – and there’s a LOT of stupidity on the roads – it’s worth it.

    I still vividly remember the other RSA ad you mentioned too. Haunting.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I think it’s several steps too far! That ad is so upsetting, I turn the channel when it comes on. Maybe it’s because I put myself in other people’s shoes, something I was taught like a lot of kids are taught to do! Then when you see this heart breaking story, it’s too much to take. It’s awful & I understand trying to raise awareness but it is really upsetting & a bit depressing… not what I appreciate any time of year but especially not at Christmas! The Paddy Power one is kind of funny though lol #wineandboobs

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes I totally agree with you Becky. After the first viewing I just turned over.
      Like you I thought the Paddy Power ad was funny, I included it to show what people do complain about!!

      Thanks for commenting and linking up to #wineandboobs

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I am taking a different view to your good self on this. As a good parent you are not the kind of person this ad is aimed at. I think most parents become far more sensitive to others pain once they have children.
    However the type of driver who the advert is aimed at usually does not have that level of sensitivity and so the ads really do need to have a huge emotional punch to get through to them.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. This is such a sensitive matter and although I’m not a fan of these type of ads because my heart just cries for the parents and everyone involved who tried to save this little boy. Hooks & Dragon is thinking how I’m thinking. And maybe, just maybe, if this reaches one person then, it’s hopefully enough to save the life of someone because this sticks in their mind. IDK…it’s sad nowadays that we need shock advertising to get the message across. Sigh. Thank you for writing a post that made me really sit down and process how I truly felt about it. #wineandboobs

      Liked by 2 people

  6. I totally agree with you Alan. To be fair I’m soppy now and can’t watch anything without ending up in floods of tears since I had the kids, but adverts like this literally break my heart. I understand that some people need to see something dramatic for it to have an impact, but I don’t and it genuinely upsets me. I avoid all programmes and films of an upsetting nature but adverts can take you by surprise and for that reason I think they need to be more universal and sensitive to all. #wineandboobs (First time I’ve typed that. Yup. I giggled.) 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wahoo you’re our target blogger. I’m gonna suggest it’s added to the rules. If you don’t giggle when typing the hashtag #wineandboobs you can’t link up.
      I just feel that the “target” audience aren’t going to be influenced either way and all it does is upset others.
      Thanks for linking up. See you next week 😀😀

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I liked your take on this. The ad you included on this was definitely an interesting piece of shock advertising. I agree with you about the extremely sad ad not being a very good way to call the viewer to action. It is kind of like the ASPCA advertisements with the abused dogs, I usually get so depressed after but I have never donated to them. I think advertisers have a thin line to walk between pushing the envelope and going to far. I was happy to see this blog post because I feel that it isn’t talked about enough.


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