An article published by Knowledge@Wharton on the amount of violence in this year’s Super Bowl ads quoted both Professor Jerry Wind and WFoA Executive Director Catharine Hays.
The article grapples with the question of balancing advertisers’ imperatives to grab viewers’ attention with the need to present responsible images that won’t harm viewers or brand image.
“It is definitely true that [ads] feel a strong need to cut through clutter in order to be heard above the din,” Hays observes. “Hence, shock factor.” However, Hays feels that, ultimately, advertisers and brands will shun violence and feel an obligation to have a net positive impact on culture and society.
Wind noted that “for the fear appeal to be effective, you have to show the resolution. If you show a terrible car accident, you have to show how a certain tire is the solution.”
WFoA research assistants who helped with this year’s Super Bowl Tweet Meet also contributed insights to the article. Interestingly, although advertisers have relied on violence more heavily in past, this year’s ads were less violent overall. Moreover, none of top 10 ads at this year’s Super Bowl featured violent images. However, is there something to be said for violent ads that hinge their success upon people’s desire to watch a game that revolves around men tackling eachother?
Examine both sides of the coin by reading the full article here, which also features quotes by fellow Wharton marketing professors Jonah Berger and Pinar Yildirim.