How The “Shock Factor” Can Grow Your Business


Image by: David Goehring
By Michael Sterling

It is a common strategy among advertisers that “Shock Factors” can be the best attention grabber you can use when gaining customers. Depending on what your product is, there are countless ways you, as a business owner, can create a boosting marketing strategy. The ways in which you sell your product nowadays have changed significantly.

Competitors are always two steps behind you, watching your every move. You need to create something that is unique, imaginative and particular to your product. Remember, the most important thing is to be memorable, not just noticed.

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It’s easy to shock people. We did it all the time when we were little boys, scaring girls with lizards and frogs – at least that was my childhood. What we failed to understand at the time is that we were creating memories for them. Those images will always stay with them. The “Shock Factor” works the same way.

Make Them Think

The point of these ads are to make people think about a certain issue relating to your product. When you shock people, you must do it in a way that compliments your business. Going too far can create the opposite affect.

Image by Sean

For example, this French PSA was made to promote safe sex by the use of condoms. by using the tarantula as a metaphor for AIDS or STDs, like crabs, the viewer can be forced to think. Seeing something that is so clearly articulated and presented about a subject we all know exists will sooner or later grasp our attention. The image itself is very memorable.

The most important part is to not offend people, but instead stay true to general facts. For example, you don’t want to single out a group of people, a type of body or kind of lifestyle – this strategy will make people think your insensitive to your customers. Stay to the product itself and/or circumstance in which the product is involved.

Make it clear that despite the images, audio or video, you are blind to everything else, except what the product is endorsing.

Audience Appeal

By knowing your audience very well, you can further understand the things they can relate to. These things will help you be more memorable, since you are appealing to their likes.

Image by Dan Diemer

This iPod ad with Homer Simpson is a great example. It’s less shocking and more surprising, in a good way. The young market who own ipods are more than likely to know Homer Simpson. By combining the two things together, you create an ad that is memorable. Also, the idea of business partnerships might not be a bad idea in these situations.

Have a Message

The message is the most important part, and if it’s done well, it is felt and unspoken. Images, especially, give opportunities for discussion since it’s mostly up to interpretation. Don’t underestimate the power of the “discussion.” Let the viewers talk about your ad or video and keep them talking.

Know what you’re trying to get the customers to do and what not to do, and most importantly, make it clear. When you know exactly what to veer the customers away from, you can be sure that it will be translated to the ad. Keep it up to date and never allow yourself a minute to rethink your strategy, once you have it down.

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