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Claudia Jonge

Graduate Student,

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The use of shock advertising by social marketers is an effective strategy to change behavior. Or has it contrary/counter effects?

For my graduation assignment I will research the topic of shock advertising in the Western European non profit sector. The use of shock advertising in social marketing raises besides ethical questions another: Have shocking and fear appealing advertising strategies in the non-profit sector the intended effects?

In this paper I want to research the effectiveness of shock and fear appealing advertisements used in the Western European non-profit sector. Another point I want to research is what methods and strategies can lead to optimum results and can improve the likelihood of changing behaviors without leading to anxiety or resistance. Furthermore, examining the effectiveness of the methods, one which focus on the physical elements of fear and one that focus on the social elements of fear in the advertisements.

With creating a debate about this specific subject I want to reach a number of objectives besides input for my research:
1. Receive notice of the different approaches
2. Seeking for truth with the exchange of information
3. Finding the relevance of the topic
4. Creating a meaningful opinion and create recommendations

Please leave your comments, suggestions and ideas about this topic and lets enjoy this debate.


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    Feb 15 2013: Claudia, First, I cannot believe that this ad cost the British Health 2.7 million pounds. It targets smoking but no specific demographic. The words below states that many do not believe that smoking is bad for you and continue smoking. How much is the Health Org advertising budget ... what percent of budget.

    Step by step:

    1) What is the purpose of ads for the British Health? All public health agencies are based on wellness.
    I just read a article that said the #1 cost in EU medicine is mental health. So why elect an ad on smoking with no demographics.

    2) What is being done with schools and kids ... that will greatly influence the wellness concept. The older people are the less they are apt to change.

    3) What are the stats ... college VS high school VS non grads ... loook at the ads FOR cigrettees and see what the target population is. That is the demographic the health org should be looking at.

    4) Impact: What were total sales prior to the ad ... what are current sales.

    5) Break down each of the major expenses of the Health org costs ... related to smoking .. mental health ,,, cancer .. drinking related ... etc ... How many ads for each? Effectivness? Number of shock - non-shock?

    6) You get the idea ......

    Perhaps your paper is to broad .. maybe not.

    How about if you narrowed it down to a area where the Health Org supplied you with data that you could quantify to validate your findings. What are other countries doing? Effectivness? Do they use shock?

    So the new paper may deal with the effrectivness of ads in the non-profit sector and their impact. In this light you could use shock as one media .. pamphlets .. newspaper ... TV ... focusing on different demographics.

    I wish you well. Please share your decisions .. grade ... and teachers comments with TED friends. Bob.
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      Mar 11 2013: Well I have made my mind up about the examples which I will use. Examples of fear appealing advertisements which I use in this paper are two types of fear appeals. One type is emotional fear appeals and the other type is physical fear appeals. The examples are from previous campaigns commissioned by different health departments from the United Kingdom, USA and Australia. The issues covered are, binge drinking, STI testing, drug abuse and anti-smoking.

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