Advertisers, psychiatrists, and social scientists have long debated the effectiveness of shock advertising. One finding suggests “shocking content in an advertisement significantly increases attention, benefits memory, and positively influences behavior.” The same study also shows that consumers are more likely to remember shocking advertising content over advertising content that is not shocking. However, there is still little information on whether shock advertising directly leads to an increase in sales revenue or to changes in behavior. There are social scientists, psychiatrists, media scholars, and child and family advocates who fear that overexposure to shock advertising will result in a public that is “desensitized” to advertisements that employ shock tactics, particularly those with overtly sexual and violent images.
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