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Shock value

Related: controversial - disturbing - disgusting - emotion - offensive - scandal - succès de scandale

Examples: 1990s Benetton advertising - mondo films


Shock value is the potential of an image, text or other form of communication to provoke a reaction of disgust, shock, anger, or similar negative emotion. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shock_value [Jan 2006]

Shock value in advertising

Shock value is often used in the world of commercials in order to gain attention for the product or service in offer.

For example, Benetton is infamously known for using shocking material in their ads (such as a newborn baby still covered in blood and with an umbilical cord). The baby has no connection with the brand or its products, but people still remember the ad and the brand. Häagen-Dazs uses a milder version of this tactic - its ice cream products are combined with the element of sex to produce shock value.

Although this type of advertising may be found offensive to some viewers, it has proven effective in the past. The initial shock invariably burns the accompanying brand name into the viewer's memory. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shock_value [Jan 2006]


A reality-based television show that contains footage of accidents and violence. Best example are the mondo movies. One of the first shockumentaries to gain fame in America was Kroger Babb's "Mom and Dad", a documentary filming a birth.

Future Shock (1970) - Alvin Toffler

Future Shock (1970) - Alvin Toffler [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Future Shock is a controversial book written by the sociologist and futurologist Alvin Toffler in 1970. It has sold over 6 million copies and has been widely translated.

Future shock is also a term for certain psychological state of individuals and entire societies, introduced by Toffler in his book of the same name.

Toffler argues that society is undergoing an enormous structural change, a revolution from an industrial society to a "super-industrial society". This change will overwhelm people, the accelerated rate of technological and social change will leave them disconnected, suffering from "shattering stress and disorientation" - future shocked. Toffler stated that the majority of social problems were symptoms of the future shock.

His analysis of that phenomenon is continued in his later publications, especially The Third Wave and Powershift. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Future_Shock [Apr 2005]

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