alexa Advertising and Audience Offense: The Role of Intentional Humor
Social & Political Sciences

Social & Political Sciences

Journal of Mass Communication & Journalism

Author(s): Fred K Beard

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The use of humor in advertising has long been considered risky, partly due to its potential for causing offense. However, the conditions under which humor might be associated with offense in advertising had never been empirically explored, prior to the content analysis reported in this article. The findings of this study of consumer complaint adjudication reports, published by the Advertising Standards Authority of New Zealand, confirm that intentional humor is often present in advertisements audience members complain about. However, findings also suggest that audiences are (1) more offended by inherently offensive themes than anything else, and (2) when an intentionally humorous advertisement offends, it is likely because it is a certain type of humor that frequently includes an inherently offensive theme.

This article was published in Journal of Marketing Communications and referenced in Journal of Mass Communication & Journalism

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