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Does It Pay to Shock? Reactions to Shocking and Nonshocking Advertising Content among University Students

  • Communication


Although the use of shocking content in advertising appeals has been widely adopted, the effectiveness of such communication strategies has not been empirically investigated. In two laboratory studies, conducted in the context of HIV AIDS prevention, we examine the effectiveness of shock advertising in comparison to the commonly used appeals of fear and information. Our findings suggest that shocking content in an advertisement significantly increases attention, benefits memory, and positively influences behavior among a group of university students.

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