Examining the history of controversial advertisments

April 21, 2011

Produced by Eight Forty-Eight

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(Photo courtesy of J. Crew)
A new J. Crew advertisement featuring the president of the company has proven to be controversial.

A recent ad in a J. Crew catalog showed the company’s president painting her son’s toenails. Some claim the ad doesn’t just sell clothes but promotes a subversive social agenda.

But controversial ads are nothing new. To find out more about why advertisers still try to push people's buttons, Eight Forty-Eight turned to Joe Marconi, a Professor in the College of Communication at DePaul University. He's the author of the book Shock Marketing: Advertising, Influence and Family Values. His most recent book is Crisis Marketing: When Bad Things Happen to Good Companies.

Music Button: Gutbucket, "Tryst 'n Shout", from the CD Flock, (Cuneiform)

For more on advertising, listen to the CBC’s Age of Persuasion Saturday mornings at 6:30am on WBEZ.