The advertising industry’s craze in social advertising has really put a new spin on the public opinion of whether or not these ads are, indeed, effective. The issue is a complex one: more often than not, social advertising sees shock or scare tactics as a core method in creating effective social ads – a phenomenon recently dubbed “shockvertising” – but when they’re everywhere, you might wonder whether their prevalence has made you immune.
Ask yourself: is social awareness something you can really sell? Because certainly, that’s what’s happening in today’s world of advertising: we’re being sold social messages as if they were consumer products, which begs the question: is social advertising even effective?
The direct link between shockvertising and the environment is unmistakable: environmental advertising (or, more accurately, shockvertising) can be found everywhere. Much like other forms of social advertising, the purpose of environmental advertising is to sell a lifestyle to consumers – in this case, the ‘green’ lifestyle – from which consumers will adopt values, beliefs, practices, and the general culture.
Many believe that even though these advertisements have an eco-conscious twist, they should not be mistaken for anything other than a business practice. Despite the message in social advertisements – green advertisements included – they are still trying to sell you something.
Realistically speaking, what the prevalence of green advertising amounts to is the possibility that some will question the truth in the message of environmental degradation. With green advertising and shockvertising attempting to jolt the people into caring, they may very well be doing the opposite – frying them into apathy.
So how effective are green ads, anyway? To take a look and decide for yourself, visit http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/gallery/2009/jul/01/act-responsible-environmental-advertising#/?picture=349852423&index=19 for some examples.
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