Liz Reitman

5 min | Leadership & Management Musings

How Fabulously Disgusting

New year… new decade… catchy new concepts. At reitdesign, we’re always looking for fresh and unusual approaches, the perfect tactic to elevate a brand’s awareness and stimulate usage, though from what’s out there, I’m beginning to wonder if we’ve gone too far or if this is where we must go to ‘break through’ the noise around us.

‘Shockvertising’ as it’s known isn’t new and in fashion, has been used extensively, going back to Calvin Klein’s ‘Nothing comes between me and my Calvins’ ads in the 1980’s featuring a 15-year old Brooke Shields and Benneton’s award-winning AIDS campaign. Also, many non-profits who advocate for animal and humanitarian rights, as well as campaigns for anti-smoking, gun control and child welfare have used extreme graphics to prove their points and grab the public’s attention, perhaps appropriately so.

But somehow it seems like every brand is getting into the act – from home and beauty products to… um, candy. We get it that in a world of information & image overload, it’s harder than ever to stand out, but has it come to this? Is our political and cultural environment so toxic that the only way to break out is to revolt & disgust? And more importantly, does such strategies sell products and build brands?

What do YOU think? We’d love to know!