'Shockvertising' is deliberately used in advertisement to stun or startle the audience. These advertisements will most likely push those comfortable boundaries of the norms and cultural acceptances that we all conform to, thus, in most cases offending and ultimately - shocking.
Take United Colors of Benetton's 'UNHATE' campaign featured in the link from The Guardian for instance, is this really classed as fashion advertising or perhaps just another strategy for branding promotion and revenue increase?
This particular campaign is somewhat of a sensitive subject, to say the least, and I can totally understand why religious believers, and others, would be offended by these images. However, in my opinion, the campaign is an honest attempt to 'battle the culture of hate in all its forms' (response from Benetton when accused of being insensitive) This, in my opinion, is never a bad thing. These campaigns, for me, make a much greater statement than using the shallowness of the simple power of sex in advertising.
However, the same question is apparent in my mind ... Are these shock advertising campaigns really necessary for the fashion brand?
Are these advertisements unnecessary, insensitive and disrespectful? Or brave, shocking and powerful?
The emotional stir in the public and controversy that Benetton's advertising campaigns create speak volumes ...