Loco Toledo ad by VCCP has angered some.

The advertising industry is really really good at pissing people off. It’s what happens when you test the limits of what’s acceptable in front of the general public. Benneton and Calvin Klein have famously hacked thousands off with their ads over the years, but such ‘shock advertising‘ tactics were intentional.

However recent campaigns such as Dr Pepper’s Facebook Takeover and VCCP’s Loco Toledo character for Southern Railways have angered people (more than a few in DR Pepper’s case).

No ad agency is going to please everybody. If they did, the result would be the advertising equivalent of Cliff Richard dressed in beige slacks holding a cute puppy.

Calvin Klein Billboard Ad Threesome Commercial Banned Nsfw Video

So what’s changed?

Arguably  nothing. Social media has resulted in easy sharing of comments and articles. An ever-increasing connected world finds it easy to comment and voice personal opinion, and as ever it’s the offended who are the most vocal.

I doubt agencies such as Lean Mean Fighting Machine and VCCP ever intent to offend. But one man’s freedom fighter is another’s terrorist. The same happens with humour, which is one of the core ideas when engaging people through marketing and promotion.

All things to all men (or should that be persons?)

No ad agency is going to please everybody all of the time. The spread of ads through social media is wider than a fat family on an a flight back from Florida. If any idea did please everyone, the result would be the advertising equivalent of Cliff Richard dressed in beige slacks holding a cute puppy. Yuk.

The challenge for agencies is how they manage such comments. Doing for themselves what they’ve done for brands in the past: protect their reputation. Because from now on – we’re the media. And like the media, the Daily Mail mindset is the most popular in middle-england’s majority.

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