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Do Controversial Ads Work?

Jen Jacobs

When you see an ad that’s slightly racy or controversial whether it makes you laugh, makes angry or offends you, what do you do? 

KMart’s “Ship My Pants” and “Show Your Joe” ads certainly drew a lot of attention, ire and heat, but while slightly racy, it didn’t make me more likely to shop at KMart.

I was recently in Green Bay and drove past a billboard that cautioned drivers about sin and then directed them to a website. Of course, we had to turn around so I could take a picture and of course I went to the website because I was curious as to what it was about, so I guess it kind of worked on me. Not because I supported their message, but rather out of curiosity. The page wasn’t anything terribly interesting, so I closed out of it, but it got me thinking about whether or not these methods of advertising really work.

What about you? If you see a billboard or a TV commercial that’s a little racy are you more or less likely to buy whatever it is they’re selling or do you just laugh and continue to surf?

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