Do Advertising Scare Tactics Work?

It’s no secret that advertisers have long used scare tactics to get us consumers to buy their product, service or ware. What they hell is a ware, anyway?

And for those that know me know that I always… ALWAYS appreciate and admire anything that is different from the status quo when it comes to advertising. It’s with that I want to share with you some examples of advertising scare tactics.

The first one is a direct mail campaign whose intent was to promote and highlight the fact that Santiago, Chile condo and apartment owners were not as safe as they perhaps thought.

Here’s still images of the direct mail piece in action followed by a video of the same…

I’ve read reviews of this campaign that range from “sheer briliance” to “terrifying brief moment of horror.”

You can probably guess which side of the aisle I fall on…

I think this was absolutely brilliant. Think about it… you’re out and about and you come to discover a box INSIDE your home with the words “Breaking into your apartment is easier than you think” next to the ADT logo…

You tell me that wouldn’t make you sit up and take notice and reevaluate your current security? I know it would get me thinking…always a dangerous proposition for sure but it would absolutely make me sit up and take notice.

So, that’s an example of a direct mail advertising scare tactic I like…

As for another example of scare tactics in a different advertising medium say TV, I offer you these for your perusal…

Apparently the big national exterminators, at least two of them anyway (Orkin and Terminix), want to scare us and make us sit up and take notice of extraordinarily large, grotesque bugs that, if gone unchecked, will wreak havoc on our lives and our homes.

Personally I think they each work in a macabre, jeezus-what-the-hell-is-that sort of way. Bugs, insects, pests are small. Very small compared to us humans. How much damage can some little bugs cause?

But… put these same creatures in a form that people can identify with, i.e. their own size and suddenly they become all too real.

So what do you think?

Do advertising scare tactics work in favor of the advertiser?

Or do they do just the opposite and turn people off?

Let me know what you think…