How Far is Too Far?

In advertising the more attention that you can generate for your brand, the better. However, how much attention is too much attention? When is this attention detrimental? This past weekend in Moscow, Russia, there were over five hundred car accidents due to a provocative truck advertisement. The truck had a large image of a female chest, covered up barely by the slogan ‘They attract’. As the police got more and more complaints about the truck causing male drivers’ distraction, they asked the truck to go off the road or either cover up the advertisement. Some driver’s crashed head-on into oncoming traffic, and many drivers made complaints that their insurance was not going to give them any coverage for the accident. It was widely covered in Russia and gained bad publicity quickly, versus humorous coverage of an amusing advertisement. The advertising group behind the ad came out and made a statement, saying that they would offer some compensation to the drivers’ who were not covered by their insurance.

But how much is too much? At what point is advertising too distracting? The whole premise of billboards is distraction – if you are looking at a billboard, then you aren’t looking at the road. Ironically enough, another American billboard in 2013 was taken down by causing too many distractions while advertising for drivers’ to pay more attention to the road. Advertising has been the topic of hot discussion in recent years, claiming that subliminal messaging plays too strong of a role in advertising and that some messages are indeed too risky and too provocative. This past weekend in Russia, this was brought to a point.

Screen Shot 2014-10-16 at 1.20.22 PMThe advertisement can be labeled as both distracting and sexist. It didn’t even last a full day on the road. So how far is too far? Is this advertisement a light-hearted joke? Or is it more offensive on deeper levels? Regardless of what your opinion is, there are enough insurance claims in Moscow right now to prove that something went wrong with this advertisement.

2 thoughts on “How Far is Too Far?

  1. I think this is an interesting topic and has a lot of good points. 500 accidents seems almost unbelievable, but I do agree that sometimes certain companies take advertising a little too far. I don’t really understand what the message of the advertisement on the truck is for either. By that I mean what are they trying to promote? Breast implants? Or maybe its for lotion since so much skin is showing. I could see a lot of people being offended by this type of ad and I can definitely see a lot of women in particular thinking of it as sexist. I’m pretty neutral about it but I don’t think it belongs on the side of a truck, it seems more like a print ad in a magazine like cosmopolitan or something.

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  2. If you’re familiar with driving accidents in russia, you know that insurance fraud is a big problem in the country. People in Russia will try anything to get some money from their insurance company with bogus excuses, that’s why the majority of “Epic car crash” videos on youtube hail from Russia, because almost every driver has a dashboard cam to prove to their insurance company any claims they make are genuine since insurance fraud is so widespread. I think that’s what happened here, people saw an opportunity to blame this ad for their accident to make some money. I don’t think this ad is sexist at all, and i don’t think it’s going “too far”. Advertising won’t always satisfy the tastes of every single person , and i feel like this ad was targeted towards an specific male audience who don’t find it “offensive” or “Sexist”

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