From the "No Duh" Department:
Results of a recent national survey found that most consumers are less likely to buy a product if they're exposed to advertising for that product that they find offensive or annoying. Only 11% of those surveyed said they were more likely to buy a product after exposure to offensive advertising, while a whopping 86% said they were less likely to buy following exposure to offensive advertising.
You may be wondering at this point what was learned from this research that wasn't already evident: you turn me off with offensive ad messages and I will likely respond by closing my wallet... no $ for you! The one nugget of insight the study does offer is that while most consumers are less likely to buy if exposed to offensive advertising, they are likely to remember the ad message- 70% of respondents recalled exposure to an offensive ad. This finding reminds us of the dilemma advertisers constantly face. We are challenged more than ever before to get the attention of the target markets we strive to reach. This challenge requires dialing up the "shock factor" or some other means to get noticed. Unfortunately, the means we use to get attention can be the very stimulus that elicits negative response from the audience.
So how do marketers avoid becoming part of the statistic of advertisers that lose sales because they offended customers? If a brand speaks to consumers convincingly in other ways (e.g., high quality, stylish design, convenient to use, etc.), one does not have to resort to outlandish messages that risk creating negative brand associations. The brand can grab attention in ways that are more credible and powerful than any marketing communications message! Link