The end of the shock of the new
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‘Shock’ advertising is the new black and the subject of the reflection in which this article engages. We do this in particular through consideration of the (largely) British high-street fashion house French Connection’s seemingly endless ‘FCUK’ campaign. The obvious resonance between this abbreviation and perhaps the most popular word in the English language was at the heart of the campaign’s appeal and it continues today through various extensions on both slogans and logos on French Connection’s own goods and indeed those who seek to piggy back upon and/or subvert its market power. It is far from the only example of such ‘shock’ tactics. Whether discussing reproduction in graphic detail with children, joyously dismantling chastity, or merely fucking with fuck, it seems that traditional mores can no longer remain virgin territory, unsullied by rapacious marketing. Our mediated experiences of reaching ‘extremes’, it now appears, are not paralysing, mesmerising, fascinating or inspiring but simply a further prod down the path leading to (gleeful) purchase. In this paper we explore how, via a series of semiotic reversals, the new, the strange, the unfamiliar and the would-be shocking are rendered banal, and thus thoroughly comprehensible through brand association and the endless re-iteration of existing works.
Shock advertising , Advertising , Slogans , English language , Semiotics , High street
Lightfoot, G., Lilley, S. and Kavanagh, D. (2006) 'The end of the shock of the new', Creativity and Innovation Management, 15(2), pp.157-163. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8691.2006.00380.x
© 2006 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2006 Blackwell Publishing. This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Lightfoot, G., Lilley, S. and Kavanagh, D. (2006) 'The end of the shock of the new', Creativity and Innovation Management, 15(2), pp.157-163, which has been published in final form at http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8691.2006.00380.x. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving. http://olabout.wiley.com/WileyCDA/Section/id-820227.html#terms