The End of the Shock of the New

7 Pages Posted: 26 May 2006

See all articles by Geoff Lightfoot

Geoff Lightfoot

University of Leicester School of Management

Simon Lilley

University of Leicester - Management Centre

Donncha Kavanagh

University College Dublin (UCD)

Abstract

'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.

Suggested Citation

Lightfoot, Geoff and Lilley, Simon and Kavanagh, Donncha, The End of the Shock of the New. Creativity and Innovation Management, Vol. 15, No. 2, pp. 157-163, June 2006, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=904413 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8691.2006.00380.x

Geoff Lightfoot (Contact Author)

University of Leicester School of Management ( email )

United Kingdom

Simon Lilley

University of Leicester - Management Centre ( email )

United Kingdom

Donncha Kavanagh

University College Dublin (UCD) ( email )

Belfield
Belfield, Dublin 4 4
Ireland

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