Provocations in advertising – slogans on the verge of a foul

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    Advertising provocation has been used for a long time. It is not surprising that the birthplace of creativity on the verge of a foul is Western countries. But in the West, unlike the countries of the post-Soviet space, in recent years they have been trying to avoid advertising tricks that balance on the edge of morality.

    What are slogans on the verge of a foul?

    Slogans on the brink of a foul are advertising phrases or sentences (slogans, mottos, chants … and so on) that almost violate laws, norms or generally accepted rules. Simply put, these are slogans for which their creators can be quite severely punished.

    Why use provocative advertising slogans?

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    Provocative, sometimes shocking slogans are an excellent way to draw the attention of the audience to a product or service. Advertising provocations penetrate the consumer’s subconscious, get fixed in it and trigger the effect of word of mouth.

    In turn, this significantly reduces the cost of an advertising campaign.

    Playing on emotions

    The basis of foul slogans is human instincts and emotions.

    When developing, such levers of provocative marketing can be used as:

    • Sexual undertones.
    • A call to outrage and resentment.
    • Immorality.
    • “Insult”.
    • Fear, panic, a sense of hopelessness.
    • Gloat.
    • Mystery.
    • Taking “on the weak.”
    • Veiled foul language…
    • …and others.

    It is important for slogan developers not to overdo it and not overcreate. It is necessary to clearly define the line and not turn the advertising campaign into an annoying non-selling dummy.

    Examples of provocation in advertising

    “Dumplings with pepper”

    The advertising company with the slogan turned out to be successful:

    “My favorite dumplings.”

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    This is how the Daria dumplings were advertised in the now distant 1998. Foul – billboards depicting naked female buttocks sprinkled with flour. This move brought serious profits, despite the fact that only thirteen shields were installed in St. Petersburg and Moscow.

    “Construction for men”

    A small Belarusian construction organization came up with an unambiguous slogan to draw attention to the repair and finishing work. Their masterpiece read from the posters:

    “If you are not gay, order repairs soon!”

    “Construction work for men.”

    “Remote guys drinking” Bravo “

    In 2003, to advertise a low-alcohol drink on one of the Russian FM radio stations, a cheerful song was launched with the following slogan:

    “Normal guys drink Bravo cocktails, normal guys shove all the girls.”

    After advertising that is hard to call not being on the verge of a foul, the company’s sales growth increased by 21%.

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    “Well, a very masculine magazine!”

    The mega-famous Maxim magazine in our time at the beginning of its formation and promotion used a slogan developed on the basis of a “disguised mate”. The advertiser’s masterpiece sounded like this:

    “Published for Men”.

    “Clothing for average citizens”

    Despite the fact that TSUM was fined a tidy sum for this slogan, the advertising campaign was a success – the provocation became one of the most striking in the history of advertising, was long remembered for its originality and managed to bring impressive profits. The slogan most directly offends the vanity and pride of a person:

    “Who is not in Prada, that sucker!”

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    The use of outrageous and provocative slogans on the verge of a foul can bring tremendous success. At the same time, there is a big risk that penalties will be imposed on the company.

    In many cases, the profit received from the advertising campaign is many times greater than the cost of repaying the fine. At the same time, some brands manage to get a “long-lasting” effect – the slogan is remembered and “quoted” for many months and even years.

    Perhaps these factors are the main logical explanation for the fact that companies, risking their reputation and finances, go for broke, creating advertising on the verge of a foul.


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