Clear Defendable Territory
The surprising truth about shocking advertising
The surprising truth about shocking advertising

It’s clever to shock with your advertising campaign, right? It’s how brands get people talking, stand out, be known for their bravery and fearless attitude. But are there boundaries to ‘disruptive advertising’?

The Clearing’s consultant Oliver Bingham talked to The Drum about how to use surprise – rather than hide behind controversy. He reckons the most absorbing brands are those that are daring enough to live on the edge of their sector:

"It's important to recognise that the limit is different for every brand, based on the market they operate in and where they're positioned within it. Move too far away from your heartland, communicate about a subject or in a way that doesn't instinctively attach itself to what you stand for and the way you see the world, and you're in trouble. Surprise elicits positive emotional responses. It provokes curiosity, stimulates awareness, takes you somewhere new. It's a powerful tool for communicating a potentially complicated or ambiguous message, like Equinox's Commit To Something campaign."

So, be daring and bend the rules by focusing on topics you know well enough to ridicule, but misuse social media at your peril – a bad tweet spreads faster than the speed of 7G.

Read The Drum's full article discussing Pizza Hut’s prison faux pas and Oreo’s Super Bowl success, plus examples from Innocent, Moosejaw and Free A Girl.


Illustration by Rose Allert