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Go Big or Go Home: Shock and Awe Gets People Talking

Say what you will about Donald Trump but he knows how to get people talking.
Remember this gem? “I could shoot someone and not lose voters,” he said at one rally. Or his views on Mexicans: “They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.’” Or on former GOP presidential nominee and current U.S. Sen. John McCain, who spent years as a POW: “I like people who weren’t captured.”
Irresponsible? Sure. But the media can’t get enough of The Donald. At times it is just like watching a train wreck, standing at the side of the road. And yet, the man somehow shoves all of the other GOP candidates off the stage.
Shock can bring attention in other areas, too. In business, “shockvertising” can be a way to grab the spotlight, even if negatively. Still, it gets people talking about your product. The idea is by appealing to the stuff that usually makes us turn away — blood and guts, religious taboos and moral turpitude — the product will be seared into memories like a branding iron on a side of beef.
Some of this stuff so bad it’s sometimes ultimately good for business. Research shows people remember what shocks them and are more likely to pull the trigger and buy something after seeing a shock ad. It gets people talking.
What about two nuns kissing their reflection off a shiny new toaster? Is it offensive, ridiculous, farfetched? Or what about a CEO breastfeeding at a meeting with attention focused on her expensive pumps — the shoe type — with the tagline, “Have the guts to walk in her shoes?”
You’ll remember that. More important, it also gets on social media and goes viral.
Still, this kind of advertising can be a double-edged sword. Do you want people associating your product with foot fungus or flatulence? However, played the right way your product, like Trump, will be what everyone talks about and, perhaps, will go and buy.

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