How Products and Advertising Offend Consumers

Fred K. Beard
University of Oklahoma


Advertisers, industry observers, and social critics have long been interested in public attitudes toward advertising's characteristics, effects, and ethical practice. Large-scale attitude and opinion studies were first conducted in the 1930s-a period during which advertisers often turned to off-putting themes and appeals-and increased during the 1960s and 1970s (for reviews of this literature, see Lowrey, Shavitt, and Haefner, 1998; Mittal, 1994; O'Donohoe, 1995; Pollay and Mittal, 1993; Zanot, 1981). As Beard (2003) notes, studies were chiefly motivated by concerns that negative attitudes could impact advertising's effectiveness and encourage support for public policies that could lead to problems for advertisers and their industry.