Shockvertising como un
método para promocionar
el contenido de los
servicios de transmisión
de video bajo demanda
“Shockvertising as a
Method to Advertise
Content in Video
on Demand Streaming
aDResearch ESIC
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Brito-Rhor, M.D, Velasco Vizcaíno, F. y Lopez, C. (2021)
“Shockvertising as a Method to Advertise Content
in Video on Demand Streaming Services
Revista Internacional de Investigación en Comunicación
aDResearch ESIC. Nº 25 Vol 25
Monográco especial, marzo 2021 · Págs. 12 a 25
María Dolores Brito-Rhor, Ph.D.
Universidad San Francisco de Quito USFQ
Franklin Velasco Vizcaíno, Ph.D.
Universidad San Francisco de Quito USFQ
Camila López, BA
Universidad San Francisco de Quito USFQ
Purpose: Most thumbnails promoting movies or series in video on demand (VOD) streaming
services contain some form of shock advertising. The intention of this type of appeal is to
bring immediate attention of viewers. However, little is known if shock advertising persuades
consumers to watch series or movies on VOD streaming services such as Netix or Amazon Prime
Video. This study examines more deeply consumer responses to two types of shock advertising
appeals: fetishism and sexual, and compares the results to an experimental condition in which
there is an absence of shock advertising.
Design / Methodology / Approach: This study empirically tests if shock advertising, in the form of
fetishism and sexual appeals, persuades consumers to watch series or movies. In the experimental
setting, we manipulated romantic feelings and compared how each shock advertising types of
appeals inuence consumers when deciding what to watch in VOD streaming services. Analysis
of variance was utilized to test the main eect of type of shock advertising appeal (fetishism vs.
sexual vs. control condition) and to test the moderating eect of romantic feelings.
Results: Our ndings suggest that consumers exposed to fetishism and sexual appeals revealed
lower levels of persuasion compared to a control condition. An important nding of the study
is the moderating eect of romanticism. When an individual has romantic feelings, conceived as
a transitory mood state, the fetishism appeal becomes more persuasive than the sexual or the
neutral appeals.
Limitations / Implications: These results are useful for improving the implementation of shock
advertising appeals in the form of fetishism or sexual thumbnails for VOD streaming services. The
study uses a single experiment to draw conclusions. Future research can test to generalize the
results of this study in dierent settings.
Originality / Contribution: The main contributions derived from this research can be classied
into two ndings: it improves our understanding of consumer’s reactions to shock advertising;
and, second advances our knowledge of the inuence of positive emotions (romantic feelings)
when consumers decide what to watch in video streaming services.
Clasicación JEL:
M30, M31, M37
Palabras clave:
Apelación fetichista,
publicidad de
publicidad sexual,
servicios de
transmisión de vídeo
bajo demanda
JEL Classication:
M30, M31, M37
Key words:
romantic feelings,
sexual advertising,
shock advertising,
video on demand
streaming services
Nº 25 Vol 25 · Monográco especial, marzo 2021  págs. 12 a 25
Objetivo: La mayoría de anuncios publicitarios de películas o series en servicios de transmisión
de video bajo demanda (VOD) contienen algún tipo de contenido de publicidad de choque.
Pero muy poco se conoce sobre este tipo de contenidos publicitarios en las intenciones de la
audiencia al elegir una serie o película en los servicios VOD como por ejemplo Netix o Amazon
Prime Video. Este estudio examina las respuestas de los consumidores a dos tipos de publicidad
de choque: estímulos fetichistas y sexuales.
Diseño/Metodología/Enfoque: Este estudio examina si la publicidad de choque persuade a
los consumidores a ver series o películas. En el experimento se manipularon los sentimientos ro-
mánticos de los participantes y se comparó cómo cada tipo de publicidad de choque (fetichista
vs. sexual vs. condición de control) inuye en los consumidores a la hora de decidir qué ver en
los servicios VOD.
Resultados: Los hallazgos sugieren que los consumidores expuestos a los estímulos de publici-
dad de choque fetichistas y sexuales, expresan niveles inferiores de persuasión en comparación
con la condición de control en la que no se presenta publicidad de choque. Un hallazgo im-
portante es el rol romanticismo. Cuando un individuo experimenta sentimientos románticos, la
apelación publicitaria fetichista se vuelve más persuasiva.
Limitaciones/Implicaciones: Estos resultados son útiles para entender mejor el impacto de
la aplicación de estrategias de publicidad de choque en los servicios VOD. El estudio utiliza un
experimento para deducir las conclusiones. Futuras investigaciones podrían enfocarse en gene-
ralizar los resultados y replicar el estudio incluyendo otras condiciones experimentales.
Originalidad/Contribución: Las principales contribuciones derivadas de esta investigación
son mejorar la comprensión de las reacciones de los consumidores a la publicidad de choque;
y, avanzar en nuestro conocimiento de la inuencia de las emociones positivas (sentimientos
románticos) cuando los consumidores deciden qué ver en los servicios VOD.
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1. Introduction
Over the years there has been an increase in the
use of shock advertising appeals not only in the
advertising of consumer goods, but also within
new contexts (e.g., video streaming services) that
involve different consumer decision-making
processes (Reichert & Lambiase, 2006, p. 14).
Consumers have been bombarded by different
forms of messages with the purpose of attracting
their attention to specific content in video
streaming services. We nd that in popular video
streaming services, shock advertising is a common
form of marketing communication. In this context,
the use of sexual appeals has become increasingly
explicit and a widely used marketing technique
(Ruberg, 2020). A quick analysis made by the
authors reveals that 20 percent of thumbnails in
Netix or Amazon Prime Video use some form of
shock advertising appeals. In particular, sexual
appeals are predominant. Since the goal of shock
advertising is to draw viewer’s immediate attention,
the use of this type of advertising appeal seems
like a suitable strategy to promote entertainment
content. However, there is little evidence in
previous marketing communication literature on
how shock advertising persuades more (vs less)
It has long been established that shock
advertising, in the form of sexual appeals, is
expected to achieve better rates in recognition,
recall, and purchase decisions (Alexander & Judd,
1978, p. 47; Álvarez Domínguez, 2020, p. 25).
Complementing these effects, we found that
many of the current forms of communication use
shock advertising, especially when promoting
entertainment products. For example, 59 percent
of music videos use sexual appeals (Zhang,
Dixon, & Conrad, 2010, p. 787), 43 percent of
women dress very provocative in magazine ads
(Carpenter & Reichert, 2004, p. 825), 41 percent
of women on television wear revealing clothing
(Downs & Smith, 2010, p. 729), 23.5 percent
of magazine thumbnails in social networks have
some level of nudity and 39.5 percent suggest
eroticism (Brito-Rhor, 2019, p. 128), 18 percent
of the clothing or behavior of prime time actors
in television commercials is provocative (Lin,
1998, p. 463), and sexual advertising appeal in
Spanish-language television network ads is
usually higher than in other languages (Fullerton
& Kendrick, 2001, p. 53). These statistics suggest
the belief that “sex sells” is not just a cliché, but
that it certainly remains as a valid marketing
communication format for various entertainment
products. This could be explained by how shock
advertising (i.e., sexual appeals) is capable to
attract viewers’ attention, evoke pleasure, and
stimulate purchase intentions (Reichert &
Lambiase, 2006, p. 42).
Although the widespread use of sexual appeals
in different media and around the world is evident,
there are not enough studies on different forms of
sexual appeals. The purpose of this study is to
objectively evaluate the response of consumers to
shock advertising of both fetishism and sexual
nature. Responses from subjects toward the sexual
stimulus will be evaluated in function of their
intentions to watch TV series. The experimental
design is intended to measure and compare
consumers’ reactions to three different shock
advertising appeals (fetishism, sexual and a control
condition). Furthermore, this effect will be
contrasted with romantic feelings induced by an
experimental manipulation. This study aims to
contribute, to both theory and practice, on the
effects of shock advertising appeals. Figure 1
present our conceptual framework.
Next, we present our literature review, then
discuss the methodology, followed by the results,
and conclusions of the study.
“Shockvertising” as a Method to Advertise Content in Video on Demand Streaming Services · págs. 12 a 25
2. Literature Review
Shock Advertising
Shock advertising is described as offensive content,
that violates norms, values, moral or social codes
(Dahl, Frankenberger, & Manchanda, 2003, p. 268;
Srivastava & Dorsch, 2020, p. 2). This type of
advertising is intended to surprise the audience
breaking through normal ads, catching consumers’
attention and resulting in an intention on the
audience to act in a particular way (Lee, Septianto,
Frethey-Bentham, & Gao, 2020 p. 2; Urwin &
Venter, 2014, p. 204). Norm violation refers to a
violation of expectations created during the social
development learning process (Dahl, Frankenberger,
& Manchanda, 2003, p. 269 - 270). The different
types of shock appeals are: disgusting images,
sexual references, profanity/obscenity, vulgarity,
impropriety, moral offensiveness and religious
taboos. Advertising as any other social object, is
judged with the rules that people have learned to
be acceptable, when the content is offensive it
commonly breaks norms of decency, good taste,
aesthetic propriety and moral standards (Dahl,
Frankenberger, & Manchanda, 2003, p. 269-270).
Shock advertising has been found to be easier to
comprehend and to retain in consumers´ minds.
Also, there is evidence that the shocking effect is
greater for the themes shown rather than for the
products or ideas advertised (Parry, Jones, Stern, &
Robinson, 2013, p. 112). Also, studies have shown
that this communication form can be effective when
promoting new products and brands (Skorupa,
2014, p. 69). Other studies implied that the effects
of shock advertising are greater when looking for
more immediate actions rather than for long- term
effects (Parry, Jones, Stern, & Robinson, 2013, p.
113). This last evidence suggests that it could be an
appropriate strategy for viewers of streaming video
services, since they decide what to watch in a matter
of seconds.
There are some factors that inuence the effects
and perception of shock advertising. These
Figure 1. Conceptual framework
Romantic feelings
Consumer behavior
Intention to watch
Shock Advertising
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elements can be defined as ethics, culture,
language, history and religion (Engelbart, Jackson,
& Smith, 2017, p. 46; Urwin & Venter, 2014, p.
204; Yan & Chapa, 2020 p. 11). Above all, religion
and social factors are believed to have a stronger
relationship with the perception of individuals
because of the inuence on daily life, concern of
moral standards and the presence of more
conservative attitudes (Parry, Jones, Stern, &
Robinson, 2013, p. 114). For instance, the higher
the level of nudity used in an advertisement, the
more negative the ethical attitude towards it is
(Brito-Rhor, Rodríguez-Herráez, & Chachalo-
Carvajal, 2019, p. 45). Even though the perception
differences between genders have not been fully
described, there is some evidence of mixed results
if women feel more offended when the advertising
includes sexual images.
Sexual and Fetishism Appeals in
The word sex has different meanings depending
on the area of research in which it is used. Sex
researchers, social psychologists, and marketers
dene sexual information as a sexual stimulus to
which sexual meaning is attributed (Reichert &
Lambiase, 2012, p. 27). Sex in advertising has
been dened as media messages containing sexual
information for the persuasive purpose of selling
branded goods and/or services (Reichert, Heckler,
& Jackson, 2001, p. 15). Courtney and Whipple
(1983) dened sex in advertising as sexuality in
the forms of: nudity, sexual images, innuendo, and
double meaning (p. 15). Furthermore, advertising
itself is an applied form of persuasion that attempts
to: inform, position, convince, reinforce and
differentiate; to achieve various objectives such as
selling products and/or services, improving the
image of the brand, educating the public, among
others (O’Guinn, Allen, & Semenik, 2012, p. 87;
Reichert & Lambiase, 2012, p. 19). In accordance
with the denition of sex and advertising, sexual
appeals are persuasive resources containing sexual
information that is integrated with the overall
message (Reichert, Heckler, & Jackson, 2001,
p. 14). Sexual content in advertising is diverse;
however, it could be dened as those stimuli
within the ad that people interpret as sexual
(Reichert & Ramirez, 2000). Commonly the
objective of using the sexual appeal in advertising
is to achieve the affective connection or association
with the consumer (O’Guinn, Allen, & Semenik,
2012, p. 61, 208-209).
Over the years it has become obvious that the
use of eroticism in advertising has increased in
tone and explicitness (Maison & Pawłowska,
2017, p. 310). As a mechanism to attract the
attention of consumers, it is very common to see
in the mainstream media, the use of sexual appeals
in advertising (Hyllegard, Yan, Ogle, & Attmann,
2010). Several investigations have pointed to an
increase in the use of sexual appeals with women
(American Psychological Association, 2007), and
there is evidence of the use of more female models
who appear with an intense degree of nudity and
couples in positions that suggest sexual relations
(Zimmerman & Dahlberg, 2008, p. 76).
Over time, the sexual appeal in advertising
seems to have evolved into a new form of sexual
appeal: fetishism. Although most advertisements
contain forms of fetishism, little is known about
this type of appeal that evokes a sense of power
and erotica in the individual (Holm, 2016, p. 128).
This is how fetishism emerges in advertising as an
important marketing tool that creates objects of
desire through visual techniques and symbols. The
fetish object, typically associated with sexuality,
symbolizes contrasting concepts such as liberation
and control, power and powerlessness, sexuality
and childishness. The fetish object discloses a
“Shockvertising” as a Method to Advertise Content in Video on Demand Streaming Services · págs. 12 a 25
exible mixture of “three underlying features of
categorization and representation characteristic of
all thought. These are concretization, animation
or anthropomorphization, conation of signier
with signied, and an ambiguous relationship of
control between person and object” (Ellen, 1988,
p. 1). Fetishism from a clinical perspective is a
dysfunctional response to sexuality since fetish
objects eventually substitute human contact for
sexual arousal and satisfaction. Sexual needs are
projected onto erotic objects. From a psychological
perspective, fetishism replaces human relations
with relations with objects and, in general, revolves
around certain garments. The three qualities of
fetish clothing are (1) liminality: a gap that falls
between nature and culture (leather, rubber, shoes,
boots, corsets, stockings, zones of passion, danger,
creativity, uncertainty), (2) color: Black skin or
bright red, and (3) de-contextualization and
isolation. For example, the shoe that by itself
excites, high heels, thigh leather, handcuffs.
The Moderating Role of Romantic Feelings
The term self-schema refers to the beliefs or ideas
that a person has about oneself (Mueller et al.,
2016). In general terms, the schemas vary
depending on some factors such as culture (Brito-
Rhor, Rodríguez-Herráez & Trueba, 2020, p. 89)
or other elements of the environment (Leite &
Kuiper, 2010). From the studies of Andersen and
Cyranowski (1994, p. 1085; 1999, p. 657) four
categories of sexual self-schema were dened
based on the combination of two independent
dimensions for women and one for men. One
dimension is related to emotions of romanticism
and the other to the negative aspect of shame or
conservatism. The sexual self-schema is formed
by four factors (1) Eroticism; the sensual
component of sexuality. This element is related to
the congruent cognitions of the capacity to
experiment and provoke sexual desire and
pleasure in the other being, (2) Romanticism; the
affective-emotional component of sexuality.
Cognitions concerning romanticism reflect
affection and sensitivity, (3) Sexual openness, the
behavioral component of sexuality. In a person’s
behavior, cognitions are linked to security,
openness, assertiveness, and condence in sexual
competence, and (4) Negative affectivity; the
affective-emotional and behavioral negative
component of sexuality. In this element, congruent
cognitions are related to feelings of tension, anxiety
and guilt stimulated by sexual aspects that could
cause sexual containment behaviors (Brito-Rhor
et al., 2020, p.88).
Comparatively, both men and women believe
that a sexual human being is one who is sexual by
evidencing romantic and loving qualities
(Andersen et al, 1999, p. 661). People with higher
sexual self-schemas possess characteristics such
as romanticism, as well as a more liberal sexual
attitude, and increased interest in sexual issues
(Cheung et al, 2013, p. 381). A romantic sexual
self-schema is a cognitive generalization about
romantic aspects of oneself from a sexual
It has already been mentioned that several
studies have conrmed that the use of sexual
attractiveness in advertising is increasing.
However, very little is known about the inuence
of different personality sexual traits, such as
romanticism, on responses to sexual information.
Nevertheless, it is possible to afrm that romantic
feelings are evidently an individual level factor that
inuences attitudes and reactions to a stimulus
with sexual content (Hateld & Rapson, 1993, p.
90). These elements became central in this study
to examine the moderating effects of romantic
feelings and preferences for shock advertising
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Romanticism has its roots in attachment theory
(Bowlby, 1969; Holmes, 2014). Attachment
motivations, reecting individual characteristics,
have implications in individuals’ social behaviors
toward others (Simpson & Rholes, 2012, p. 286).
Attachment theory further describes these
motivations as having two central dimensions:
anxiety and avoidance. According to Simpson et
al., (2012), both dimensions play a signicant role
in how individuals obtain social power in a
relationship, as individuals become more (versus
less) susceptible to each person’s preferences.
Thus, depending on how the level of romanticism
produces high (versus low) levels of anxiety or
avoidance type of orientations, the level of social
power and control in the relationship switch. This
argument can explain how romanticism can lead
to a person, having more social power over his/
her partner, employ a greater inuence in decisions
and preferences toward sexuality. Using this as a
basis, we expect a positive link between
romanticism and preference for fetishism sexual
To sustain our hypothesis that romantic feelings
increase the preference toward fetishism appeals
we found evidence in literature about variety-
seeking behaviors. Huang and Dong (2018)
suggest that even short episodes of romanticism,
romantic crushes, lead to variety-seeking type of
behaviors (p. 232). As the authors further describe,
a romantic schema is likely to lower people’s sense
of control and increase a desire for sensory
stimulation. In addition to this finding,
experiments that induced a romantic feeling in
male participants show they feel greater attraction
to dissimilar female partners that evoke a sense of
limerence and obsession for fantasies (Gold et al.,
1984). Advertising literature has similarly studied
romantic schemas. Huang (2014) found that ads
showing romantic appeals induce greater attitudes
toward the ads; this effect is strengthened by
higher levels of arousal and pleasure (p. 69). Since
fetishism delivers both types of outcomes, we
expect that romantic feelings increase the
persuasion from fetishism types of appeal in
3. Method
A pre-test was necessary to conrm if certain types
of advertising cues (e.g., a whip, handcuffs, red
panties, red brassiere, a pole, and so forth) when
embedded in an ad generate perceptions of either
a fetishism appeal or a sexual appeal. Sixty-four
participants (43.2 % female; Mage = 36.08, SD =
12.64) from a consumer panel accepted the
invitation to participate in an advertisement
evaluation task. Participants were instructed to
associate different types of objects that are
representative of either fetishism or sexual
advertising appeals. Table 1 shows a list of eight
objects presented to participants and their
corresponding responses when associating each
cue to a type of shock advertising appeal.
Main Study
Purpose. The objective of this study is to nd
evidence of the level of persuasion that different
types of shock advertising appeals produce inside
the mind of consumers. In this study we
manipulated romantic feelings and compare how
each shock advertising appeals (sexual versus
fetishism) inuence more (vs. less) consumers
when deciding what to watch in paid video
streaming services. A control condition was
included to compare the effects that these shock
advertising appeals provoke.
Design and shock advertisement manipulations.
A two factor 3 (shock advertising sexual appeals:
fetishism, sexy, and a control condition) x 2 (state
“Shockvertising” as a Method to Advertise Content in Video on Demand Streaming Services · págs. 12 a 25
of mind: positive romantic affect vs. neutral
condition) between-subjects experimental design
was utilized to investigate how consumers react
to video streaming programming that is advertised
with shock advertising appeals.
First, participants were randomly instructed to
either write a few lines describing one of the most
romantic episodes of their lives or write a
description of what is their daily routine. This rst
step was intended to rise feelings of positive
romantic affect. These romantic feelings
manipulation was adopted from Donato et al.
(2018) study (p. 220-229). Second, we
manipulated shock advertising appeals promoting
a new TV series available in a video stream service.
Three versions of the ad were created to exhibit
each shock advertising appeal. The fetishism
appeal was manipulated by embedding imagery
artifacts related to the practice of fetishism in the
TV series ad. Following the results of the pre-test,
we utilized a black leather pair of handcuffs to be
displayed in the ad. The sexual appeal utilized
imagery artifacts, such as women’s red panties and
brassiere. Last, the control advertisement did not
include any articial that can be related to shock
advertising appeal. A ctitious name of the TV
series (Pearls), a short description of the story,
customer ratings, and a young lady laying on the
oor served as stimuli included in each of the three
versions of the ad. All advertisements were
designed by a professional graphic designer who
used the same look and feel that a popular paid
video stream service uses to promote their
programming. Appendix 1 illustrates the three
thumbnails related to the experimental conditions
of this study.
Sample and Procedure. Consumers from a
research panel were invited to participate in a task
evaluating advertisements for a consumer good.
A sample of 203 adults participated in the study
(46.3 % female; Mage = 24.25, SD = 6.31). At the
beginning of the study, participants were randomly
assigned to our experimental conditions. Then,
participants provided answers to a questionnaire
that included our main dependent intention
variable to watch the TV series. Intentions to
Table 1. Objects associated with a fetishism or a sexual appeal
Objects Fetishism appeal % Sexual Appeal % Z-value
Whip 83 17 14.11***
Leather underwear 76 24 11.12***
Handcus 81 18 13.30***
Venetian mask 70 30 8.55***
Red brassiere 24 76 -11.11***
Red panties 25 75 -10.698.55
High heel shoes 42 58 -3.42**
Pole 54 46 1.71
Note: *** p < 0.001; ** p < 0.5; ns not statistically signicant dierence.
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watch the TV series included two items: (1) “How
likely is it that you would watch this TV series? 1
Very unlikely – 7 Very likely; (2) “How interested
are you in watching this TV series? 1 Not interested
at all – 7 Very interested (r = 0.87). Then,
participants answered the manipulation check
questions, a current mood questionnaire, and
shared their demographic information.
4. Results
Manipulation check. To check for the effectiveness
of the romantic feelings manipulation we
conducted an ANOVA using as dependent variable
the score of a seven-point scale question that asked
participants their current feelings (7=romantic; 1=
unromantic). As expected, participants in the
romantic feelings condition (M = 4.56, SD = 1.50)
felt more romantic than those in the control
condition (M = 4.07, SD = 1.82; F (1, 202) = 4.37,
p < .05). The result suggests our manipulation on
the romantic feelings operated as intended.
Hypotheses testing. To test the hypotheses a 2
(romantic feelings) × 3 (shock advertising appeals)
ANCOVA, with intentions to watch the TV series
as the dependent variable was conducted and
mood as a covariate. Participants in the romantic
feelings condition showed higher intentions to
watch the TV series (M = 4.12, SD = 1.53) than
participants in the neutral mental state (M = 3.45,
SD = 1.37); thus, the main effect of romantic
feelings reached statistical signicance (F (1, 195)
= 7.26, p < .001). We also found a main effect for
shock advertising appeals (F (2, 195) = 4.73, p <
.01) that participants in the fetishism appeal
condition (M = 4.33, SD = 1.48) showed higher
intentions to watch the TV series than those in
the control condition (M = 3.65, SD = 1.38), and
than those in the sexual appeal condition (M =
3.39, SD = 1.47). Most importantly, the analyses
revealed a signicant romantic feeling × shock
advertising 2-way interaction (F (2, 195) = 4.34,
p < .01). For participants induced with
romanticism, there is a signicance difference in
intentions to watch the TV series across the
fetishism appeal (M = 4.93, SD = 1.38) compared
to the sexual appeal (M = 3.40, SD = 1.33) and
control conditions (M = 3.75, SD = 1.46).
However, for participants in the non-romantic
feelings condition, intentions to watch the TV
series were almost the same for all three shock
advertising conditions: fetishism appeal (M =
3.44, SD = 1.17), sexual appeal (M = 3.38, SD =
1.57), and control condition (M = 3.55, SD =
1.30). Post-hoc tests for mean differences, Tuckey
HSD, confirmed that there was a significant
difference between the fetishism appeal mean and
the other conditions. Table 2 presents the mean
scores for each condition. Figure 1 shows the
interaction effect of romantic feelings and shock
Table 2. Main Study – mean scores and standard deviations
Shock advertising condition Romantic feelings Control
Mean Std. Dev Mean Std. Dev
Fetishism 4.93 1.38 3.44 1.17
Sexy 3.40 1.33 3.38 1.57
Control 3.75 1.46 3.55 1.30
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5. Discussion and Conclusions
Advertising is a basic element of marketing and
as such, it is important to understand how shock
advertising inuences viewers’ decision-making
processes and choices. Our experimental study
reveals that consumers are more persuaded by
fetishism when romantic feelings are activated.
Results indicate that consumers show higher
intentions to watch video streaming content when
shock advertising, in the form of fetishism
appeals, are used in the movie thumbnail.
Findings also suggest that the level of romanticism,
operationalized as a transitory romantic feeling,
changes the perceptions toward fetishism appeals.
The more romantic a viewer feels, the stronger
the level of persuasion expelled by fetishism
appeals is.
The main contributions derived from this
research can be classied into two areas: improving
the understanding of consumer’s reactions to
shock advertising; and, advancing our knowledge
of the inuence of a romantic mood on new forms
of advertising in a video streaming context.
Individual personality traits are important
variables that inuence sex-related attitudes and
reactions to sexual information. The ndings
suggest that understanding people’s predispositions
and tendencies to approach/avoid sexual
information is important for understanding how
those tendencies inuence responses to advertising
messages. Our results support Huang’s (2014)
research that evidenced that ads displaying
romantic appeals induce better attitudes toward
the ads; this effect is reinforced by higher levels of
arousal and pleasure (p. 69). Given that fetishism
offers both types of outcomes, romantic feelings
increased the persuasiveness of fetishism appeals
in ads. Likewise, Reichert and Lambiase (2006),
Figure 2. Interaction eect of romantic feelings and shock advertising
Intentions to watch TV series
(Main score)
Romantic feelings Control
Fetishism Sexy Fetishism
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evidenced that shock advertising, whether in the
form of fetishistic or sexual appeals, is able to
attract viewers’ attention, evoke pleasure, and
stimulate purchase intentions (p. 42). Therefore,
the use of fetishism appeals could be an appropriate
strategy for viewers of streaming video services,
who choose what to watch based on the artwork.
According to research by Parry, Jones, Stern, and
Robinson (2013), it was established that the effects
of shock advertising are greater when more
immediate actions are sought than long-term
effects, such as choosing to watch a movie on
streaming services (p. 113).
Given that customers receive an excessive
amount of commercial stimuli, it is paramount to
keep looking for new ways to achieve strategic
differentiation and fulll the rst basic step of
advertising, which is to attract the public’s
attention. Precisely, emotional ads that appeal to
shock not only seek to break with conventional
norms, but also aim to make a concrete call to
action in micro-moments. In the case of streaming
services, the call to action is to get people to click
on the thumbnail of the movie they are most
interested in watching. In conclusion, If a movie
thumbnail combines a fetishism type of appeal
and uses elements to activate romanticism, the
film being advertised will receive favorable
consumer responses.
6. Limitations
This research is not without limitations. To support
generalizability, more studies should be carried
out to test the relationship concerning shock
advertising, romantic sexual self-schema, and
behavioral intentions for different product
categories, market segments, and sexual content
in advertisements. For example, future research
might examine the role of culture and how it
facilitates romantic feelings and influences
perceptions toward sexual content in
advertisements. Another research question for
future studies to address is how other forms of
shock advertising, especially threat and drama,
inuences consumer choices in video streaming
services. Last, we suggest that future studies focus
on the romantic sexual schema conceptualized as
a more stable personality trait. Furthermore,
replication research is suggested which leads to
the advancement of science.
“Shockvertising” as a Method to Advertise Content in Video on Demand Streaming Services · págs. 12 a 25
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Appendix 1 Experimental
Movie Thumbnail
Title: Pearls/Rating: 4.5 stars/2018
Description: College graduate Pearl Courtney begins a rela-
tionship with John McClane.
Appeals: Fetishism, sexual, control
Fetishism appeal Control condition
Sexual appeal