Shock Tactics

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Shock Tactics

Recently, travel brand Plum Guide launched an ad campaign that drove home the terrifying reality of how many holidays the average person has left to enjoy, based on their age. “If you’re 38, you have about 42 holidays left,” one read. Not so bad, you might think. “If you’re 74, you have 6 holidays left”, read another. Oh. 

As campaigns go, it was certainly effective. It cut through the noise. Terrifying people tends to do that. I first saw the ads on Instagram while I was sunning myself on a Greek beach. It made me want to book next year’s holiday pronto. But Plum Guide’s ad wasn’t the only scary thing I encountered on my phone that week. For some reason, I’ve been receiving a barrage of emails with heart stopping titles in the subject field. “24 Hours Remaining! You Have Been Warned!” turned out to be the expiration date for an offer on a tinted moisturiser. “A Final Warning” turned out to an exhortation to buy tickets to a club night before prices went up. Alas, this didn’t stop me momentarily worrying that it was a final warning about something more serious, like my electricity being cut off.

Everyone is on edge these days. Life is hard, and getting harder. Undoubtedly, shock tactics get people’s attention, but at what cost? A punchy ad campaign is one thing, but PRs should think twice about sending emails with alarming subject headers to people whose nerves are on high alert already. It’s August. Everyone is short of ideas. A brilliant idea will be so much more well-received than an empty shock tactic. 


What Laura Thinks…

“Loved this! Would definitely make a feature out of this intel. Although am surprise Siabdh didn’t show up on the list (um, maybe I’ve spelled that wrong!)”

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