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99 Provocative Examples of Shockvertising

These Campaigns Get Under Your Skin

— April 11, 2012 — Naughty
The creative agencies, ad firms, marketing communications companies and activists behind these 100 examples of shockvertising have one thing in common despite their disparate interests and methods: they demonstrate an ability to cut through the noise and have their message heard and remembered.

We live in a world littered with advertising, but much of it is ineffective. How many billboards do people drive by without really noticing them? How many people see a commercial without actually watching it? How many people peruse through a website without once clicking an ad? The operative word here is ‘without.’

Without a concept that will immediately grab people’s attention and interest them long enough so that the message can sink in, many advertising campaigns run the risk of becoming just another hiss in the static. The shockvertising featured here ranges from racy to gory to borderline offensive. Whatever the method, each ad grabs one’s attention and holds it, which is exactly what advertising is supposed to do.
6.9
Score
Popularity
Activity
Freshness
93
Politically Incorrect Trailers
Politically Incorrect Trailers
'The Dictator' by Sacha Baron Cohen May Offend
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92
Horrifying Transit PSAs
Horrifying Transit PSAs
British Transport Police Airs Video Footage of Woman Falling Under Train
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91
Racy Red Light PSAs
Racy Red Light PSAs
The Stop the Traffik Publicity Stunt Illuminates Human Trading Rings
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90
Activist Super Bowl Billboards
Activist Super Bowl Billboards
PETA Chicken Wings Ad Discourages Wing-Eating During Games
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89
Political Shockvertising (Part II)
Political Shockvertising (Part II)
Tibetan Monk Protest
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88
Anti-Online Predator Campaigns
Anti-Online Predator Campaigns
The Rebecca Project for Human Rights Fights for Vulnerable Girls
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87
Cinematic Shockvertising
Cinematic Shockvertising
Motor Neurone Disease Association Ad Is Like a Horror Movie
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86
Eco Shockvertising
Eco Shockvertising
Moms Against Climate Change Tug at Heartstrings
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85
Drink-Driving Urinalyzers
Drink-Driving Urinalyzers
The McFarland Pissalyzer Wants to Prevent Drunk-Driving with Graphic PSA
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84
Muddy Shockvertising
Muddy Shockvertising
Wrangler Red Confuses Viewers With Barbaric Commercial for S/S 2010
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83
Powerful Cigarette Mosaic Ads
Powerful Cigarette Mosaic Ads
The Stivoro Campaign Asks People 'What are You Giving Up?'
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82
Dare-Induced Activism
Dare-Induced Activism
'Clean Water Challenge' Raises Awareness for Drinking Water
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81
Oil-Covered Shockvertising
Oil-Covered Shockvertising
The Crude Awakening BP Oil Spill/NWF Spec PSA is Extremely Effective
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80
Activist Ad Rejections
Activist Ad Rejections
NBC Refuses to Air PETA Thanksgiving Ad
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79
Edgy Eco-Campaigns
Edgy Eco-Campaigns
Avaaz Organization Makes Activism Cool With Strong Statements
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78
Criminal Health Club Campaigns
Criminal Health Club Campaigns
Eccotique Spas 'Hand Yourself In' Ads Summon the Fashion Police
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77
Horrifying Hide-and-Seek Ads
Horrifying Hide-and-Seek Ads
Innocence in Danger PSAs Aim to Protect Children
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76
Product Shockvertising
Product Shockvertising
Bolt Detergent
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75
Eco Heroes
Eco Heroes
WWF: Be The Hero Campaign
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74
Masking Censorship
Masking Censorship
World Press Freedom Ads
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73
Controversial Anti Drug Ad
Controversial Anti Drug Ad
Publicis Campaign in Brazil
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72
Regional Meanvertising
Regional Meanvertising
Molson Coors' Toronto-Trashing Billboards Flop
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71
Polar Bear Shockvertising
Polar Bear Shockvertising
The Plane Stupid Polar Bear Ad is Disturbingly Graphic
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70
Insect-Infested Editorials
Insect-Infested Editorials
This Vice Magazine Shoot by Ed Zipco is Crawling With Beauty
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69
Naked Mannequin Shockvertising
Naked Mannequin Shockvertising
The 'Sidewalk Catwalk Exhibit' in NYC Wants to Keep it Local
<
68
Visceral Shockvertising
Visceral Shockvertising
The Catalonian National Theatre's Heart-Rending Ad
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67
Drug-Addled Celeb Ads
Drug-Addled Celeb Ads
The Cocaine Co Campaign Associates Itself with Overdosed Individuals
<
66
Shoppers as Newborns
Shoppers as Newborns
Harvey Nichols Asks "Are You Ready to Be Reborn?"
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65
Sensualized Senior Commercials
Sensualized Senior Commercials
EqualPayday Looks to "Close the Wage Gap" With Their Ad
<
64
Shockvertising Lawsuits
Shockvertising Lawsuits
American Apparel's $5 Million Payout to Woody Allen
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63
Body Parts in Garbage Cans for The Truth Campaign
Body Parts in Garbage Cans for The Truth Campaign
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62
Blood Spurting PSAs
Blood Spurting PSAs
The Bangalore Police Ad Campaign Targets Cell Phone Driving Enablers
<
61
Hygienic Shockvertising
Hygienic Shockvertising
Ads Show Value of Sanitizers
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60
Fatty Shockvertising
Fatty Shockvertising
The NYC Department of Health's Gross Pouring on the Pounds Ads
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59
Offensive Adultery-Promoting Ads
Offensive Adultery-Promoting Ads
Ashley Madison New York Metro Ad Calls Overweight Women "Scary"
<
58
Political Shockvertising
Political Shockvertising
"Hillary Obama" to Promote University
<
57
Family Member Cigarettes
Family Member Cigarettes
This Indian Anti Smoking Campaign is Thought-Provoking
<
56
Denim Shockvertising
Denim Shockvertising
Release Your Beast in Levi's 501 Jeans
<
55
Panda Death Shockvertising
Panda Death Shockvertising
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society Raises Bluefin Tuna Awareness
<
54
Disturbing Shockvertising
Disturbing Shockvertising
The Romanian Police Child Helpline Billboard for Child Violence
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53
Shockvertising Food
Shockvertising Food
Swedish Fish: A Friend You Can Eat
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52
Parallel Life PSAs
Parallel Life PSAs
The 'Drugs Set Your Timeline' Campaign Appeals to Impressionable Facebook Users
<
51
Cancer-Combating Crotchvertising
Cancer-Combating Crotchvertising
This Awareness Campaign by Y&R has Testicular Fortitude
<
50
Heartbreaking Anti-Child Abuse Ads
Heartbreaking Anti-Child Abuse Ads
The Banned Ogilvy Dublin PSA is Hard to Watch
<
49
Gruesome Shockvertising
Gruesome Shockvertising
A Texting While Driving PSA Shows Horrific Realism
<
48
Naughty Surrealism With a Message
Naughty Surrealism With a Message
AIDS 'Explore But Protect Yourself' Wins Bronze at Cannes
<
47
Windblown Shockvertising
Windblown Shockvertising
Pretty Fast Delivery Makes Ugly Pictures But A Great Point
<
46
Eastern European Shockvertising
Eastern European Shockvertising
APFR Battered Women Ads
<
45
Human Meat Packs (UPDATE)
Human Meat Packs (UPDATE)
PETA Reprises Their 'Meat is Murder' Shockvertising Stunt in Times Squar
<
44
Child Poverty Shockvertising
Child Poverty Shockvertising
The Barnardo Campaign Against Child Poverty Raises Eyebrows
<
43
Sinister Cigarette Ads
Sinister Cigarette Ads
The Smoking Kills Campaign Wants to Extinguish Your Habit
<
42
Nudevertising Climate Change
Nudevertising Climate Change
Supermodels Take it Off for 350.org and Global Warming
<
41
Spankvertising
Spankvertising
Massad Magazine's Branded Butt Paddle Ad Campaign
<
40
Shocking Anti-Drug Abuse Ads
Shocking Anti-Drug Abuse Ads
Barnardo's 'Break the Cycle' Campaign
<
39
Shockvertising with Bite
Shockvertising with Bite
Stella Espresso Coffee
<
38
Beheading Creativity
Beheading Creativity
Gruesome Shockvertising Over Advertising Budget Cuts
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37
Kenneth Cole Uses AIDS to Sell Fashion
Kenneth Cole Uses AIDS to Sell Fashion
<
36
Bare Bodies For Animal Activism
Bare Bodies For Animal Activism
Danity Kane Show Support For PETA
<
35
Ironic Banvertisement
Ironic Banvertisement
10 Ads That Were Banned But Are Free to Roam the Internet
<
34
Child Shockvertising in PSAs
Child Shockvertising in PSAs
Anti-Smoking Ads Feature Kids with Adult Hands Holding Cigs
<
33
Controversial Infant Occupations
Controversial Infant Occupations
The Publicis Conseil LICRA Campaign Ruffles a Few Feathers
<
32
Toxic Animal Ads
Toxic Animal Ads
The WWF Evollution Campaign Looks to Send a Clear Message
<
31
Pushing Limits of Emotional Advertising
Pushing Limits of Emotional Advertising
When Are Ads Too Shocking?
<
30
Hot Hipster Bodywear Lookbooks
Hot Hipster Bodywear Lookbooks
Sultry Bathing Suits in the new American Apparel SS 2011 Collection
<
29
Shockvertising Smokefree Campaign
Shockvertising Smokefree Campaign
NHS: Get Unhooked
<
28
Controversial Driving Virals
Controversial Driving Virals
Is Kesslers Knigge's 10 Drogen beim Autofahren Video Pro or Anti Drug
<
27
Shocking Eco-Activism
Shocking Eco-Activism
'Crude Awakening' by Jane Fulton Alt Photographs the Oil Spill
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26
Passionate Fashion Ads
Passionate Fashion Ads
Gratuitous Mangano 2009 Campaign
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25
Playing Dead in Public Places
Playing Dead in Public Places
Shockvertising at its Finest
<
24
Nudevertising Jewelry
Nudevertising Jewelry
Freja Beha Erichsen Bares All for Georg Jensen Campaign
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23
Gruesome Shockvertising
Gruesome Shockvertising
Sony PSP Retry Ad
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22
3D Activism Ad
3D Activism Ad
Graphic Anti-Whaling Campaign
<
21
Women As Clothes Racks
Women As Clothes Racks
Details Magazine Features Disturbing, Sexist Ads
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20
Shockvertising
Shockvertising
Does It Work? Jury Still Out
<
19
Provocative Billboards
Provocative Billboards
Belvedere Ads Too Racy?
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18
Role Reversal Shockvertising
Role Reversal Shockvertising
'Humans for Animals' Creates an Alarming Campaign
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17
Fake BJ Ads
Fake BJ Ads
Do American Apparel Ads Cross The Line?
<
16
Adult Worker Ads
Adult Worker Ads
These Stepping Stone Ads by Extreme Group are a Bit of a Shock
<
15
Nudevertising for Wine
Nudevertising for Wine
Avondale Wine Goes 'Au Naturel'
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14
Awarding Controversial Ads
Awarding Controversial Ads
American Apparel Dubbed Label of the Year
<
13
Nudevertising Glasses
Nudevertising Glasses
Tom Ford Gets Racy in Fall/Winter Eyewear Ads
<
12
Disturbing Holiday Depictions
Disturbing Holiday Depictions
The Courtney Stodden Christmas Shoot Shows Pseudo-Celeb Festivities
<
11
Naked Hairy Shock Advertising
Naked Hairy Shock Advertising
Burt Reynolds Strips Down for DirecTV
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10
Dolce & Gabbana Gets Overly Sexual in New Controversial Ads
Dolce & Gabbana Gets Overly Sexual in New Controversial Ads
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9
Youth Shockvertising
Youth Shockvertising
Statutory Rape Awareness Ad
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8
Human Billboards
Human Billboards
Roomservice Magazine Features Real Life Transactions
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7
Nudevertising Specialists
Nudevertising Specialists
Henrick Purienne Photography Pushes Limits
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6
Youth Shockvertising II
Youth Shockvertising II
CONCEPT 'Don't Lose Control' Child Abuse Ad
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5
Painted Nudevertising
Painted Nudevertising
Wearing Nothing But Ultra Thin Panty Liners
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4
In-the-Buff Footwear Ads
In-the-Buff Footwear Ads
APICCAPS ‘Portuguese Shoes' Campaign Flaunts a Sexy Industry
<
3
Provocative Watch Editorials
Provocative Watch Editorials
Terry Richardson Has a Scandalous Time in Vogue Hommes
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2
Nude Shockvertising
Nude Shockvertising
AnimaNaturalis Strips Women for Animal Rights
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1
When Ads Cross The Line
When Ads Cross The Line
Is Tom Ford's New Campaign Too Naughty
<