Shock Marketing

We've all been shocked by things in the past. An unexpected death in Game of Thrones, an unexpected political result, or maybe a celebrity going a bit against the grain. This week many have been shocked by Kanye West. The rapper's used to stirring up a bit of trouble, from taking the stage from Taylor Swift, to rapping about the same event, 'Ye's become an export in shocking the public.

This week Kanye's gone a step further, riling up celebrities and making the public ask, "Is that real?" Some may already have heard about this, but Kanye's just released a music video featuring some of the worlds most prominent popular figures in a bed together, naked. The video includes Donald Trump, Kanye West, Kim Kardashian, Taylor Swift, Bill Cosby, George Bush and more, or at least very detailed wax models of them. This video's been released exclusively on Tidal, a music stream service owned in part by Kanye West, though subscription figures haven't been released yet, it's expected that this video will substantially increase these figures.

This got us thinking, how effective is this type of shock marketing and has it been done before? Kanye West seems to be a success story of shock marketing tactics, gaining fame in recent years by annoying people. Though many don't like him because of it, it has got him known - even my mum knows who he is!

The issue when analysing this type of marketing is that it's hard to tell when it's done intentionally. Recently we've seen a popular computer game serious Grand Theft Auto capitalising on the phenomenon. You might remember news stories saying that the series was the most violent game ever, and how it was single-handedly responsible for the level of crime in America. Well, while this may have stopped parents buying for their young kids, everyone old enough flocked to stores to see what was so bad about this game, a success story in anyone's book.

So, does it work? Of course, it does, with the right product. Both Kanye West and the Grand Theft Auto game series try to push societies norms with their content and this makes shocking marketing perfect for them, while they may have some consumers 'turned off' of them, these are likely people who wouldn't buy the product anyway. On the other hand, a product that needs to appeal to everyone, perhaps a food product or a family service might want to stay away from this.

Written by

Total Merchandise | Editoral Team

Our editorial team is drawn from a pool of experienced promotional merchandise product team members, account managers, marketers and other contributors. With such a wide range of skills and experience, they write about many aspects of promotional merchandise, wider marketing and business matters, as well as company news updates.

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