Four-fifths of public think shock advertising by charities is justifiable

YouGov survey finds people think it helps raise awareness of important causes

Almost 80 per cent of the public think it is justifiable for charities to use shock tactics in their advertising, according to a survey by pollsters YouGov.

The survey, which questioned 2,133 people last month, found that 79 per cent thought adverts that tried to shock were justified if they raised awareness of a charity or its cause.

Eighty-two per cent said shock tactics were acceptable if they raised awareness of domestic violence and 78 per cent said the same was true of child poverty.

Asked whether environmental charities were justified in using shock tactics, 62 per cent said yes.

Forty-five per cent of respondents said they had seen a charity advert that they considered to be shocking. Thirty-eight per cent of these said they had taken positive action as a result of the shocking advert, such as making a donation or looking for more information, and 2 per cent said they had cancelled donations or made a complaint because of the advert.

Asked about the controversial advert for animal charity Peta, which featured the line "Steven Barker: Animal Abuser, Baby Abuser, Rapist" and was banned by the Advertising Standards Authority in February, 49 per cent said it should have been allowed without any restrictions and 34 per cent said it was necessary. Twelve per cent said it was distasteful.

The anti-cyber bullying campaign by Beatbullying, which showed a young girl sewing her lips together, was rated as ‘necessary' by 31 per cent of respondents. Fifty-three per cent said it should be allowed to be shown without restrictions.


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