We Aim to Offend – By @Norwarican

Alex Overland

By Alex Overland



We Aim to Offend

There’s a work called ‘Piss Christ’, by artist Andres Serrano. It’s often seen as offensive, which is somewhat understandable. But the artist’s intention is not to offend, it’s rather to get someone’s attention so he can make them think differently.

Sounds kind of like an ad.

This hasn’t happened often to us, but a few times we’ve been told something we’ve done might rub the audience or the client the wrong way. But generally our ads are still very nice and friendly, so it’d be hard to take offense at anything in there.

Initially, it feels counterintuitive for ads to make the people who buy them, or the people they’re intended to be seen by, feel awkward. But sometimes a little friction is what it takes to get a message across. Charity ads and PSAs are perfect examples.

So far we haven’t really got anything properly offensive in our book. It’s maybe got something to do with the fact that we’re still exploring our creative ‘brand’. But I want to work towards it. I think offense, like humor or sadness, is another useful tool we can use to get someone’s attention long enough to feed them a message.

I’ll be keeping this in mind when I’m doing new campaigns from now on. It doesn’t have to be for a charity, it can really be for anything. But offense is the next thing I’d like to try out, because I think till now I’ve been relying on ‘nice’ creative angles to get a message across. Time to drop JC in the piss­tank.

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