An Asian Perspective Of Offensive Advertising On The Web

Gerard Prendergast
Hong Kong Baptist University
and
Huang Chia Hwa
Pacific Century Cyberworks

INTRODUCTION

In order to draw the audience's attention to a product or service advertisement, there has been an increasing use of controversial advertising in recent years (Lyons 1996; Matthews 1997; Waller 1999). This trend has occurred in Hong Kong as well (Tilles 1998; Apple Daily 1999; Wong 2000; Schwartz 2001). A distinctive advertisement may be memorable to a target audience, but the effect may be either positive or negative. There have been cases where consumers have felt so offended by some advertisements that they have put pressure on advertisers to change their advertisements, encouraged the media to stop accepting the advertisements, or even boycotted the company and its products (Tilles 1998; Wong 2000; Schwartz 2001).