Public perceptions of harm and offence in UK advertising.

I came across this PDF file when trying to look for information about false advertising. The file is all about the different perceptions of advertising, but I wanted to look mainly at the ‘false’ side of it, and the effects advertising puts on people.

The main offences in advertising:

Sexual content and nudity

Body image

Innuendo and bad language

Negative stereotypes of specific groups

Violent/Scary content

Distressing/Shocking imagery

Misleading/Aggressive adverts

Adverts for products participants thought were harmful/Inappropriate

Repetitive/Annoying adverts

Screen Shot 2015-03-10 at 13.38.57I even found a stats chart, showing the responses of adverts and the public’s reactions. What I thought was interesting, was seeing that more people thought others would be offended by the advert than them their selves. The consistency of the feeling of offence however does still seem steady and shows no sign of slowing down.

Screen Shot 2015-03-10 at 13.41.13

Another chart of offence by the media, a HUGE increase in opinions shows the majority of the results appeared either ‘very offensive’ or ‘fairly offensive’. So why would designers feel inclined to produce these adverts, knowing they could offend a lot of people? A question is whether they actually know the amount they are offending, or whether they are choosing to turn a blind eye to it.

To back up my point from my previous post of the anonymous photo retoucher, people look at adverts and believe that is what they naturally look like:

“All the celebs are all like so skinny and thin and you feel like you have to like look a certain way just for society to accept you nowadays.” Female, Edinburgh

“When was the last time you saw any model with any blemish at all?” Male, Edinburgh

“Young girls nowadays are obsessed by body image… and that comes from advertising.” Male, Christian Group, London

“It presents a distorted body image – it disturbs our idea of what women should look like.” Female, London

Screen Shot 2015-03-10 at 13.44.49

Screen Shot 2015-03-10 at 13.38.57

Screen Shot 2015-03-10 at 13.41.13It is becoming apparent that although more and more people are becoming offended by sex-related adverts. The point with this however, is that more people are looking at these adverts and remembering them, meaning that the people designing the adverts are doing their job in attracting attention, whether it is in the right way or not.




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