And it’s impact on consumer behavior

May 15, 2018

Shockvertising is  advertising that intends to shock the audience. The kind published to grab your attention by whatever means, maybe use of profanity, partial nudity, going against societal or cultural norms etc.

The feeling of shock may last longer on the mind and lead to more effective long-term behavioral changes  and brand recognition; even if the audiences found it initially offensive. Though challenging your community this way may face a strong resistance, it definitely succeeds in creating discussions and dialogue, most of which will revolve around your brand.

In the Egyptian outdoor market, despite its generally conservative community,  a few trends of shockvertising appeared in recent years, and people did react.

The “Sunny Cooking Oil”  campaign used a familiar Egyptian expression about 'spinsters',  framing it up as a question, something many Egyptian women are often asked, or even described as by others. Though perhaps once accepted in society, today it carries a derogatory nature. Though the campaign’s purpose was claimed to be in support of these women, people did not receive it well, and their very target was offended, with some even claiming the campaign promoted violence against women.


“Uber” Egypt got a taste of this kind of backlash when its campaign cheekily advertised that now you can get out of having to drive your mother-in-law around. Suffice to say, mothers-in-law across the country weren't pleased.

Not only was there a kind of public debate/argument in its wake, things escalated all the way to the Consumer Protection Authority of Egypt, who banned the Ad shortly after.

"Uber" aimed to play on a rather popular joke in Egyptian pop culture, pertaining to Mothers-in-law and their relationship with their sons' daughters not always going so smoothly. Not to mention the basic reality that people would rather avoid traffic and car errands altogether. Nonetheless, the humor was not appreciated.

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