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.
The 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.