Why is Controversial Advertising so Popular?

Why is Controversial Advertising so Popular?

Why is Controversial Advertising so Popular?

In our daily course of life, we see advertisements all the time, whether we are watching a t.v., travelling, reading magazines etc. It is often that we don’t pay any attention to them or they skip our attention unintentionally. But, some advertisements catch our gaze instantly and imprint themselves as offensive, intelligent or different on our brains.

Advertisements are the reflections of the norms of a society or the thinking process prevalent in that society. Some advertisements seem to comply with these norms. But, the ones which don’t are the ones which attract our attention. These are some of the reasons why controversial advertisements are more popular than the others:

Challenging Taboo


Advertisements are chiefly made to endorse a product and create a market for it. But sometimes they also challenge the taboos prevalent in the society. They are considered controversial or offensive certain times and are also banned. This kind of reaction popularizes them and encourages a huge mass of people to watch and critique how such taboo topics are discussed in this form of media. Through such approach, they are also successful in creating awareness amongst the audience.

Different Technique

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Advertisements are generally seen as interruptions during an ongoing show, which annoy the viewers or they see them as boring. But, controversial advertisements apply certain new techniques for the endorsement of a normal product to make their marketing interesting. They either employ different techniques or new ways to deliver their content. Such kind of creative freshness generates curiosity in the audience to enjoy them.



Advertisements sometimes touch on sensitive topics and depict them in a negative light. Issues such as racism or gender equality are sometimes played with in order to just create a stir in the society. These kinds of advertisements which misuse their medium do get popular but indeed for wrong reasons. They invite the critique of society and thus gain audience.

Graphic Imagery

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It is quite often that various advertisements which are called controversial have explicit images. They use sexuality of women or men in order to raise the fancy of people and lure them. They almost border on the vulgar and thus are very controversial for certain people who care about its effects on society.

But, these kinds of illicit advertisements receive a huge response from audience who wish to see something new and entertain themselves on the basis of that.

Breaking Perceptions


Advertisements sometimes are termed controversial when they critique the common consciousness prevalent in the society. They produce something which is completely new and challenge our ideology in a different manner.

They are made on the edge and are equally intelligent in extending our limits. Thus, our gaze gets introduced to something it hasn’t seen so common in such a new light. Such ads may be controversial but, if they are successfully breaking stereotypes, then are healthy in a peculiar way.

Today, advertisements are made not just for selling a product but to raise certain emotions. Controversial advertisements may encounter unwelcome from the society overtly, but covertly they get extremely popular, sometimes for their content and sometimes for their form. They are made with an intention to arouse anger, disgust, or negative emotions among viewers and thus gain attention due to their unwarranted nature. It is because they are controversial and different they have an indelible impact on the viewers’ mind and become a topic of discussion among them.