By Jennifer Faull | Deputy Editor

Crispin Porter Bogusky

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shock marketing article

April 22, 2014 | 3 min read

Industry legend Chuck Porter is no stranger to eyebrow-raising work – you need only look at the controversy his agency’s Burger King and Groupon spots have courted over the years – but the CP+B founder believes that while it is dangerous to run something that is indifferent, shock advertising for shock’s sake is ultimately a bigger waste of money.

He spoke about the notion of shock advertising – which The Drum itself explored in an Ad Week Europe panel session - after jumping in The Drum’s branded taxi cab for a lift back to his hotel.

Calling overdrawn conversations about work and creativity “bullshit”, The Drum asked Porter what he thought about creating work that sets out to shock the consumer.

“Shock for shock alone doesn’t work very well. Just to shock people is bankrupt. But on the other hand advertising that doesn’t stop people and get their attention is a waste of money.”

Indeed, Porter said that the real enemy of most brands is not the competition, it’s indifference.

“Most people really don’t care. You have to get their interest and either give them information that they want or entertain them. But if you don’t get their attention if there isn’t something that makes me stop and look at this and think about it you’re wasting your money.

“I like shock advertising if it has something to do with the brand you’re shocking me about.”

He was also quick to correct any assumption that the power of the TV spot has been lost, saying that it is “not dead yet”.

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“It’s still the most cost effective way to reach the most people and it’s an emotional medium. The fundamental difference now is that rather than being an announcement, you really have to carry on a conversation.”

At Ad Week, Porter led a session on his agency’s recent move into Brazil. With two major world sporting events on the horizon, The Drum was keen to find out if CP+B was in it for the long haul.

“We don’t have a long term strategy, we’ve never had a long term strategy,” he joked, saying his roots as a copywriter didn’t instil a readiness to plan beyond simply creating the next piece of great work.

This is the latest in The Drum's #Hailthedrum interview series conducted during Advertising Week Europe.

The 'Hail The Drum' series was produced in partnership with Hailo and Media Agency Group. The wrap for the taxi was courtesy of Media Agency Group.

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