Richard Branson

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15 Small Business Lessons from Richard Branson
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Sep 23, 2010 -
On paper, global entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson is larger than life: entrepreneur with over 360 companies, chairman of the Virgin Group, author, adventurer, knight, patron, kajillionaire, would-be space traveler with a ballsy mantra, “Screw it, let’s do it.”
As my friend Kyle Lacy commented after we both watched Branson keynote a marketing conference in Indianapolis last week, “You think you’re doing pretty well, and then you meet that guy.”
On stage, Branson projects approachability and humility, which is especially surprising as he has every reason to be anything but. In other words, if a colossal ego were ever justified, it would be Branson’s.
As Chairman of the Virgin Group, he has become a global icon challenging convention and succeeding against the odds. But much of what Branson said has special resonance for small business owners struggling to differentiate themselves in their markets.

1. On big companies vs. small companies

“Small is beautiful,” Branson said. “This may seem like a peculiar boast,” he added, but he doesn’t see size as a competitive advantage.
His Virgin Records label is not the biggest in the music industry, but in 1992 it attracted the Rolling Stones. Virgin Airlines has a mere 37 airplanes versus the 700+ maintained by its competitors. It’s better to spin off a company into a second smaller company (as Virgin Atlantic spun off Virgin America) than grow larger, Branson believes, because smaller companies can stay both more nimble and more customer-focused. They can also maintain the style and “cheekiness” of their early trailblazing if they stay relatively compact.

2. On the foundation of a brand

Branson believes that “outstanding brands are built around great people who deliver consistently great customer service every day.”
Ultimately, a brand is only as good as the products behind it. A business’s top priority is to get its products right, and then wrap a great brand around it. “You can’t kid people,” Branson said.

3. On his inspiration in nature

Virgin has a “lot in common with bumblebees,” Branson says. The aerodynamics of the bee’s biology suggest that it shouldn’t be able to fly. “But it just goes out and does it.”

4. On seeing things through your customer’s eyes

His inspiration for Virgin Airlines grew out of his own miserable experience as a passenger on commercial airlines replete with “dreadful service.” Virgin went head-to-head against the “well-oiled marketing machines” of the “big, boring competition,” Branson said.
“We didn’t know how much we didn’t know,” he added. “We had no idea how serious airlines were supposed to be run—so we looked at it entirely from the passenger’s perspective.”

5. On positioning

Virgin decided to compete on service—rather than price—as a way to set itself apart from other air carriers.  Virgin also “focused on what we knew best—entertainment,” Branson said, positioning his airline as a “well-priced product [that would] make flying fun again” via perks like onboard bars, massages, power plugs at every seat, the flexibility to order food in your seat when you want it, and so on.
“We weren’t out to be the biggest, but definitely to be the best,” he said.
6. On hiring

More companies look for employees with relevant experience first. But from its outset, Virgin “hired friendly over experienced,” Branson said. It sought out employees who had fresh perspectives, great attitudes, and were eager to have fun, and then trained them to do their jobs. Those who arrived with experience from other air carriers were those who essentially “had learned how to not do their jobs,” he said.
Branson also believes in promoting from within. “We try to take people on from within,” he said, because “we know their weakness and strengths.” What’s more, he said, he often promotes people above the position they expect. “We take a risk. You can start off as a cleaning lady and go to the top.” Also, hiring from within “doesn’t demoralize people in company,” Branson added.

7. On listening to customers and employees

Branson is well known for his personable management style. Early on, he wrote monthly letters to all Virgin Group employees, and every employee was given his home telephone number. He extends that openness to customers, too, at times randomly calling select customers to inquire about their experience on his airline, for example.
Have a “fearlessness of engaging with people,” Branson said, because “conversations can change the world.”

“We like to listen to our customers, because it’s an opportunity to be creative,” Branson said.

8. On social media

For businesses, social media offers both challenges and opportunities, Branson said. For example, an unhappy Virgin passenger might use the megaphone of a social media platform to complain, when a push of an onboard call button would resolve the issue, Branson said. But at the same time, social channels can help your customers find one another and allow them a change to interact, which makes an onboard community on an airplane, for example, a “smaller, warmer, friendlier” place.
Branson believes that when businesses carefully monitor and respond, social media helps businesses anticipate needs. For example, when a Virgin passenger expressed his concern on Twitter about whether he might make his connecting flight, Virgin staffers made sure he made it.
Social channels can also offer immediate feedback on what your customers will respond to: When Virgin America announced a fare sale on Twitter, it became the fourth highest sale day in the airline’s history.
9. On having a sense of humor

Approaching business playfully, and with a healthy sense of humor and fun, is critical. Virgin “built its business on free advertising, and largely with a sense of humor,” Branson said. A “cheeky” approach to business and “fun, gentle digs at competitors help put your name on the map,” he added.

10. On failure

Entrepreneurs take risks, Branson said, and as such “mustn’t be afraid of failure.” Failure doesn’t damage a reputation as much as some fear, he said. And anyways, it’s more fun to challenge yourself to succeed than to not act out of fear of failing, especially as success begets success: “If you can run one business well, you should be able to run any business well.”
True entrepreneurs “love challenging themselves, and love challenging the people around us,” especially when it comes to succeeding in otherwise established markets, where most businesses are “diabolically run.”

11. On his fascination with space travel

Branson founded Virgin Galactic in 1990 with a goal of making commercial space travel viable, but the idea grew out of a longtime passion for an idea that he worked hard to make a reality. (Which is, by the way, exactly what entrepreneurs do more generally, in other industries.)

His fascination with space travel took root when he (along with the rest of the world) watched the first manned spacecraft land on the moon in 1969. After seeing Apollo 11, he said, “I assumed I’d be going into space.” And decades later he worked to develop a reusable, safe spaceship that could make suborbital spaceflight a reality. Now, he says, commercial space travel is only a year or so away.
12. On the importance of company culture

Everything comes down to the people you hire to run your company, Branson said. Those running the company have to love it, and they also have to believe in the products you sell. The CEO must care as much about the cleaning ladies and switchboard operators as well as the company's other directors.
The Virgin Group tries to maintain an equal number of men and women on its boards and in it’s staffing. Too often corporate boards are overwhelmingly male, Branson said, but he believes companies benefit from a more equal split. 

13. On partying with employees

It’s important for higher-ups to get to know people on a personal level, outside of work. “We encourage as much partying as possible,” he said.
For executives, that means staying at the same hotel where your staff stays, and hanging out at the bar with them, after hours. “You’ll get the honest feedback at a bar,” Branson said.
14. On success

With success comes wealth and fame, but also enormous responsibility to help other people and improve the world we live in, Branson said. He now spends most of his time on humanitarian and social issues.
15. On which business is his favorite

Branson doesn’t run any business daily, as he’s become expert at the “art of delegation,” he said. But those businesses that interest him most tend to be the ones that are struggling.
“The businesses I become closest to as those that are like a child getting bullied; I tend to spend more time with them than with other businesses” to help steer them onto the right track.
Image credit: Charles Nicholls
Ann Handley is the Chief Content Officer of
MarketingProfs and the co-author of the upcoming Content Rules (Wiley, 2010).  Follow her on Twitter @marketingprofs. 
Tags: virgin, ann handley, duct tape marketing, kyle lacy, best practices, managing, richard branson, advice
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Article Comments (1)


    (Sep 24, 2010)
    All I can say is the man is amazing - he's broken through so many barriers and is a darling of all age groups. Cool, smart, fun, adventurous and caring. An inspiration of our time!

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Dernière édition par MARIO KEKIC le Mar 30 Nov - 23:09 (2010); édité 1 fois
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Companies. They are where we work. There are some bad apples (those are usually the ones you hear about on the news). But most are pretty quotidian: just the source of our weekly checks. That’s why companies known for their good practices and treatment of their employees are so rare and so commendable.
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80 Extreme Advertisements That Will Challenge Your Mind
By: Aidan in Design, Inspiration | 205 Comments |

An advertisement’s aim is to instantly attract the attention of viewers. Some use humour to draw viewers’ attention, but there are other kinds of advertisements that go to extremes to present something different. As a follow up to our previous article 60 Humorous Advertisements That Will Tickle Your Bones, today we look at the opposite extreme to using humour in advertisements. Presenting another side to design, some of the advertisements shared in this article today may be a little visually disturbing or conceptually controversial.
Warning: Viewers Discretion Is Advised!

Image from: Squid

While some might find them somewhat perverse yet creatively brilliant, others might cringe and be disgusted or disapproving of their content or style. Everyone has a right to an opinion.
80 Controversial and Disturbing Print Ads
Let’s look at these advertisements objectively with an open and analytical mind and appreciate the creativity that went into it. One has to wonder how the creative directors and designers came up with these concepts. What was the thought process and rational behind their radical ideas? Was there prior censorship and surveying done in a control group before the decision to go ahead with the advert was made? No matter the response, such advertisements do exist and are on the rise. Does challenging the norm by being controversial and extreme payoff by leaving an impact or making an impression on viewers? This is an answer we’d love to find out.
Here are 80 controversial advertisements that challenge the boundaries of what is socially and morally acceptable with the use of dark humour and shock tactics. These print advertisements often use gore, vulgarity, sex, violence, and sometimes religion to promote their products or bring across the organisations’ message. These adverts either challenge social, political or moral propriety. That is why some of these advertisements are banned in certain countries. Although the use of such adverts can be effective, it is not for the faint of heart or small of mind. Not everyone can appreciate the beauty in such clever and deliberate ugliness.
Just liquid hand wash: Cockroaches

Ariel: Pervert

Amnesty International: Archery

AMAM - Association of Women Against Genital Mutilation: Plastic doll

Alka-Seltzer: New Year

Alac: Kitchen

Ace: Tarantula

A Bela Sintra: Foot

WWF: Blood

Amnesty International: Red Little Tender

Vergessen ist ansteckend: Tub

TMF: Army


Superette: Elevator

AIDS Awareness Campaign: Gay

Stella Coffee Pot: Spider

SPID Advertising

Solid Paint: Cross

Skins: Defy Genetics

Shared Responsibility: Kidnapping

Semorin: Mustard

Save the Children: Child Labour

Sanctuary, Save the tiger: Binocular

RSPCA: Woman

Pedestrian Council of Australia: Family

Popeye Detergent Hipoalergenic: Hell raiser

Pastorini Toy Store

Oust: Everything has consequences

Nycomed: Agony

Cerveira Art Biennial: Botticelli

Pet flea & tick spot on: Haircut

MTV: Shot, Girl

Multiple Sclerosis Australia: Use By Dates

Masterlock: Hippes

Lung cancer awareness: One

Love Life Stop Aids: Space

Glassing Sunglasses: Kiss my glass

Ariel Plus: Ketchup

RSF: Ink

IndyAct: Bobcat

Workplace Safety Insurance Board: Sign

Colombian Association of Arterial Hypertension: Home

Humans for Animals: Seal

Gringo’s Tequila: El Matador Peligroso

Fur Free: Angry Fox

Findus Fraich'Frites

Foundation Abbé Pierre: The Lifeguard

Filigranes Bookstore: Las Vegas

Procter & Gamble / Febreze: Fly

Fashion Outlet Zurich: Cow

Family Network Foundation: Dad

Ramorama: Expose Yourself

Emirates Arthritis Foundation: Painful

Government of the State of Santa Catarina: Hamburger

13th Street

Concordia Children’s Services: Piglets

E.N.P.A: Spray

Colin glass cleaner: Spider Anti-Cigarette Butt Pollution Campaign: Catfish

Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers: England

Child Health Foundation: The Scream

Casa Do Menor: Hands

Casa & Perfume air freshener: Fish

Caribu Bitter: Poison

Caribu Bitter: Canari

Canex: Spaniel

Eagle Print Awards 2009: Cactus

NSW Health

Aware Helpline: Verbal abuse

Ashtraymouth: Roach girl

Vancouver Aquarium


One Life Shower

Domestic Violence: Piece of meat

The Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation

Good Parent

Domestic Violence: Living Room


Too Much To Handle?
What do you think of these extreme advertisements? Do you think their shock tactics worked? Are you for or against such advertising concepts? If these are not the most shocking or disturbing advertisements you’ve seen or you’ve seen others that deserve a mention, feel free to share them with us. Let’s discuss the pros and cons of extreme advertising prints.

Posted on: February 25th, 2010

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Aidan Huang is a web enthusiast and blogger who loves all things design and technology. He is also the chief editor at his creative blog - InspireMonkey which shares new, exciting and informative discoveries found from surfing the net.
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156 Comments & 49 Pingbacks | Add a Comment

  1. Nick
    February 25, 2010 at 7:04 pm
    That hands one. Literally made my jaw drop. Wow.

    • Andrea
      March 8, 2010 at 5:07 pm
      me too. i wanted to cry.

      • Hypnotika
        March 10, 2010 at 12:37 am
        Me three.. that and the broken child.

      • Sarah
        March 13, 2010 at 10:04 am
        Same here. That's exactly how it feels. It never lets go.

    • Grant
      March 10, 2010 at 2:53 am
      Eye opening, hard truth

    • Erica
      September 24, 2010 at 8:46 am
      ya me too on that one!

  2. tografix
    February 25, 2010 at 7:19 pm
    some great ads.

  3. Melody
    February 25, 2010 at 7:34 pm
    Wow, these are intense, I applaud the designers and companies willing to take big risks in their marketing. Funny, I just recently did a post on the origin of plastic sex dolls Wink

  4. Maicon Sobczak
    February 25, 2010 at 8:04 pm
    Killer advertisements! Sometimes people only begin to think after a shock. Very good compilation.

  5. designsy
    February 25, 2010 at 8:32 pm
    WOW very interesting kind of ideas, thanks for all the work.

  6. puree
    February 25, 2010 at 9:07 pm
    Very nice collection!

  7. Lukas
    February 25, 2010 at 10:30 pm
    The worst part is not many clients will accept such a great ideas. But let's hope some of our will Smile

    • Zack
      February 27, 2010 at 2:27 am
      I applaud you showing clients these ads. Your confidence will help you clients to feel more confident about controversial advertising. If just one of these ads showed up on a billboard or in a magazine, that would be a huge accomplishment.

      • TOMTOM
        March 1, 2010 at 6:38 pm
        Not to split hairs, but in case you are interested, two of these have been shown on billboards in New Zealand; the Suprette one (be caught dead in it) and the one of the man inside the beer glass (was last night really worth it).
        But yeah i agree with everyone here in that these are fantastic and highly imaginitive ads, which must all have been designed by talented and brave designers.

        • John
          March 3, 2010 at 11:11 am
          And indeed the binge drinking one (what are you doing to yourself) I saw on the side of a bus in Sydney (or possibly Port Nelson) in the last week

  8. KJuly
    February 25, 2010 at 10:52 pm
    I should say, these pics are all good works with great creativity.
    I really like them!

  9. Jesse S
    February 25, 2010 at 11:04 pm
    Great pieces of work, all of them, but agreeing with Lukas, at least for the U.S., It's rare that that the client or the FCC or whomever will allow such a visual ad.. too bad , these are great!

  10. ivan @ aotw
    February 25, 2010 at 11:52 pm
    Hey, thanks for the special collection and the backlinks to AotW! I dugg and tweeted you!
    Oh this math question below is too hard for me! Smile

    • Aidan
      February 26, 2010 at 12:50 am
      Thanks Ivan. LOL, we'll try to make it more simpler next time! Smile

  11. Chris
    February 26, 2010 at 12:11 am
    Do Europeans realize not just gay people can get AIDs?

    • Cyril
      February 27, 2010 at 9:53 am
      You mean it doesn't stand for Ass Induced Death Sentence???

    • Muse
      March 1, 2010 at 12:43 pm
      I'm sure that they do, but would it be on the "controversial ads" list if it were for straight people?

    • James
      March 2, 2010 at 10:59 pm
      Many uninformed gays do not use condoms, as the number one use of condoms is to prevent birth. The ads are to inform gays that while they cannot get their partner pregnant, sex without a condom can still expose them to harmful infections.

      • Andrea
        March 8, 2010 at 5:08 pm
        very good point

        • Cammy
          March 9, 2010 at 3:00 pm
          Approximately 9700 women were diagnosed with HIV in 2005
          * 80 percent were from heterosexual transmission
          # How many women in the world today are living with HIV?
          UNAIDS estimates that 15.7 million women ages 15 and over are living with HIV/AIDS, accounting for half of all adults living with the disease worldwide—a proportion that has remained relatively stable since the mid-1990s. In some of the most affected countries and for younger populations, HIV-positive women outnumber HIV-positive men. In sub-Saharan Africa, 59% of adults with HIV/AIDS are women. In the countries hardest hit by the epidemic, HIV is up to three times as prevalent among young women as among their male peers.
          In higher-income countries, the impact of HIV on women is growing and is most pronounced in marginalized populations, including minorities, immigrants, and refugees. In the United States, the most severe impact of the epidemic is among gay and bisexual men of all races and Black Americans; for example, Blacks account for almost half of all new HIV infections in the U.S. 5 to 44.
          # Why are young women at a higher risk of HIV infection than young men?
          Many young women lack information about sexual and reproductive health and disease prevention. In countries with generalized epidemics, the majority of women ages 15 to 24 do not have access to information or resources about reproductive health and HIV/AIDS. Young women may also lack access to health care and education. In addition, young women are among the most vulnerable because their genital tracts have less mature tissue, which may be more easily torn, and they are often victims of coercive or forced sex.
          There were about 127,000 women living with HIV in 2005
          * 64 percent were black
          * 19 percent were white
          * 15 percent were Hispanic
          * one percent were Asian / Pacific Islander
          * less than one percent were American Indian / Alaska Native
          women are more susceptible to get HIV/AIDS than men. :/ the whole 'gay man-without a little bit double standard...I get the point though

          • Aidan
            March 10, 2010 at 7:13 pm
            Hi Cammy, thanks for the informative report.

          • Everrett
            April 10, 2010 at 5:04 pm
            Cammi, you are an idiot. Don't worry the cut/paste on your computer works fine. We get it we should all wear condoms.

  12. Zombine
    February 26, 2010 at 12:19 am
    Wow, just wow. It make me think.

    • Casy - Video Reviews
      July 24, 2010 at 4:52 am
      If it makes you think, then the advertisements worked and paid off. I personally think some of them were disturbing, but overall, the shock tactics quite often work - especially if it is for an ethical cause such as raising awareness about the health harms that smoking does.

  13. Woops
    February 26, 2010 at 12:47 am
    Your images never load for me here in Canada.

    • Terrance
      February 26, 2010 at 12:57 am
      Sorry for the inconvenience cause.
      You can try to clear your cache by holding down Shift + click refresh or go to your browser's setting to clear it.

      • weiv
        February 26, 2010 at 11:04 pm
        Pictures don't show in USA either. Tried in a few browsers.

        • Jinx
          March 2, 2010 at 5:22 am
          I'm in the USA, NY to be exact, and they load fine for me. Pretty fast actually, considering the size and number.
          Just trying to help narrow the problem ^.^

        • CAMisTUFF
          March 9, 2010 at 10:12 pm
          It loaded just fine for me as well.

  14. Publigeekaire
    February 26, 2010 at 1:08 am
    Nice list. How many scam ads, that is the question...

  15. Leon
    February 26, 2010 at 1:52 am
    I think many of them are great works of art, but it's ashaming that such extreme advertisement is necessary to reach people and it makes people numb to normal advertisement, thus creating even more extreme ads to be effective, until nothing is shocking or extreme enough to attract attention

  16. Amber
    February 26, 2010 at 2:23 am
    Thanks for this. Maybe a little much to handle. Damn.

  17. Crockett
    February 26, 2010 at 3:34 am
    My wife has MS so that one hit me. I wish I could show her, but she may not like to see it.

  18. maryam
    February 26, 2010 at 3:41 am
    They are breathtaking ....

  19. Josh
    February 26, 2010 at 4:26 am
    I agree with Leon exactly. I am actually a big fan of these ads, but I fear that desensitization of society will lead to more extreme ads until there is no censoring at all anymore.
    Great compilation though.

    • Aidan
      February 26, 2010 at 12:55 pm
      Hi Josh, these ads won't even be shown here in Singapore. That explains how strict the censorship here are.

      • Dawne
        March 28, 2010 at 11:11 pm
        Well actually the Aware Helpline: Verbal Abuse did run in the Singapore media, across print, as well as OOH if i don't remember wrongly.
        Unfortunately most of the time censorship happens at the client's side, because they're afraid to take the risk and they'd rather take the neutral (easy) way out.

  20. AlexsaZ
    February 26, 2010 at 7:55 am
    wow сколько много креатива, реклама двигатель прогресса, хотя защитники животных тоже не отстают

    • Aidan
      March 1, 2010 at 12:49 am
      wow what a lot of creative, advertising engine of progress, while animal welfare advocates are not far behind
      This is the translation to English.

  21. ClaraM
    February 26, 2010 at 2:22 pm
    Awesome ads. This sort of graphic design just might be my career someday.
    An ad I really want to see, is one speaking out against the abuse of men. A really understated issue, but it happens just as often. Someone could make a real shocker out of that one...

    • Jen
      February 26, 2010 at 5:37 pm
      While I agree with you that the domestic abuse of men by their female partners is an issue which does not recieve the attention or support it deserves, by no stretch of the imagination does it happen anywhere NEAR "just as often" as the abuse of women by men. Seriously, nowhere near. Like, maybe 1% of the time. I'm not belittling those men out there who do suffer violent abuse at the hands of their partners, but you can support them with the truth! It doesn't have to happen just as often for it to be just as bad! When a woman abuses a man, it's just as terrible and wrong as the other way round - but it's not as common.
      Personally I'd like to see something targeted at domestic violence in LGBT relationships - women who are abused by women or men who are abused by men. It happens, and just like the abuse of men by thir female partners it doesnt get talked about enough.

      • ClaraM
        February 27, 2010 at 2:03 pm
        Well, I can't remember or find where I read that, and I may have misread it from it saying they were trying to PROVE it happened just as much(probably that, yeah). But I do believe it's closer to that in fact than 1% of the time. "Every year, 1,510,455 women and 834,732 men are victims of physical violence by an intimate. This is according to a Nov. 1998 Department of Justice report on the National Violence Against Women Survey."( That's at least 50%.
        I agree on the LGBT issue, too. Of course, more people are likely to say they deserve it for their lifestyle.

  22. Dave
    February 26, 2010 at 6:30 pm
    there is a great ad for Guess, in europe. It's the G shaved into a girls pubes!

    • Sarah
      March 13, 2010 at 10:08 am
      Uuuuuh, how is that great??

    • C
      April 26, 2010 at 10:43 am
      That's actually a Gucci ad.

  23. Tara
    February 26, 2010 at 10:18 pm
    really good... yes they're extreme..but exactly what people need to see and feel...heights of creativity i would say... overall..its great..!

  24. Krishna
    February 26, 2010 at 11:30 pm
    Wow, these are really challenging ads.
    Definitely eye catching, however I do wonder if some of them are pushing the boundaries a bit too much....
    none the less definitely a good collection...
    well done Smile

  25. Alexander
    February 27, 2010 at 1:23 am
    The problem is that almost every image here is frightening.
    I did not see anything nothing really funny or inspirational

    • Jinx
      March 2, 2010 at 5:24 am
      Nothing was supposed to funny or inspirational. These are controversial.

  26. Zack
    February 27, 2010 at 2:34 am
    These ads are shocking! Too bad the general public has no idea just how shocking the issues are that these messages address. I believe that a double take ad that provokes thoughts and evokes feelings is just what America needs to wake up and attach an emotion to these "issues" that are reported, but never really detailed. A picture says 1000 words.

  27. tania
    February 27, 2010 at 4:12 am
    great work! i really think that our world needs this to keep on thinking and not just pass by...

  28. Juan Carlos
    February 27, 2010 at 9:09 am
    Shock without real thought put behind it, is just obnoxious. As most of these ads are.
    Audience: Woah a bunch of newborn babies sucking the milk off a pig... wait. That isn't happening
    Brainhead advertiser: True, but it's almost as if it were happening right?
    Audience:... right, I'm going back to ignoring you. But Good luck on winning one of those meaningless awards no one but your creepy industry friends give a crap about!

    • Jinx
      March 2, 2010 at 5:29 am
      Um no. the image is upped so make you look, Feel sad about the dirty infants suckling off a pig. Then you read the little part about childhood hunger, which you obviously did not do.
      I'm sure more people care about childhood hunger than "crappy industry" people.
      "A COMMENT without real thought put behind it, is just obnoxious."

      • Jinx
        March 2, 2010 at 5:29 am
        my bad. "supposed to make you look"****

        • Charlie
          March 3, 2010 at 8:44 pm
          Agreed Jinx,
          Juan, ironically your tone seems unnecessarily obnoxious. It's hard to get people pay attention these days... and an image such is does the trick in many cases.
          Of course babies are literally suckling from a pig in reality, (in reality they don't even get this option and starve), we all know that. It is a simple visual metaphor that is all. Metaphors like this have been used since language began to help communicate a message or idea more clearly.
          Shocking? Perhaps, but for a good reason xx

        • Juan Carlos
          March 4, 2010 at 2:24 am
          I know what a metaphor is, and I also know when I see a badly crafted one, in this case I suppose it's: "The situation of starving babies is so dire, it's as if they'd rather suckle a dirty hog than starve." If you don't understand why it doesn't work, I can't really help you there.

        • Charlie
          March 4, 2010 at 5:46 pm
          I guess it could be read like that.
          But with the tag 'If you don't feed them, who will', I read it more along the lines of 'A pig isn't going to step in and feed these kids... you're going to have to do something'.
          I'm not saying it's the best ad in the world (it isn't), just perhaps worth a second look. I guess you could argue, as with many of these ads, if the viewer is offended before they really give the ad a chance, then it hasn't worked.
          Interesting nonetheless that so many people have something to say about this kinda ad.

      • Juan Carlos
        March 4, 2010 at 1:57 am
        I get what they tried to do Jinx, I gather they put an awful image to try and get a visceral reaction from the public.
        A visceral reaction is not given for free, and if you waste it with such a poor idea you'll only turn off people mentally and emotionally and have your message ignored.

        • C
          April 26, 2010 at 10:46 am
          Poor ideas like the welfare of children, women, and the general health and safety of the public.

    • Nic
      November 3, 2010 at 12:23 am
      I agree with you. These are nothing but shock value, and shock value takes no effort what so ever to do. Most of these made me think, but the large majority of those just made me think 'What is this ._.?'
      It wasn't deep thought about the subject, more deep thought along the lines of 'what were they thinking?'
      The large majority of these ads are weak.

  29. Billy
    February 27, 2010 at 8:39 pm
    Awesome !- these certainly get your attention eh!
    great post.

  30. Ben Oliveira
    February 28, 2010 at 1:14 am
    WOW... This post just made me speechless.
    What can I say about it?
    Just loved.

  31. Sarah Lynn
    February 28, 2010 at 10:53 pm
    Phewwww... these are intense ads. I had a hard time just getting through the first half! Very moving, disgusting, breathtaking, scary, awful... the list of emotions go on. Do you know if these have actually been published?

    • Aidan
      March 1, 2010 at 12:51 am
      Sarah, I believed most of them get through the censorship board in other country. Though I never seen them anywhere in Singapore. Have you seen them in your country?

      • TOMTOM
        March 1, 2010 at 6:41 pm
        I have seen two of them in New Zealand, as well as similarly shocking ones not shown here. I think that compared to many things in other mainstream media these aren't even that unusually graphic so I wouldn't be suprised if most of these have been published.

  32. Muse
    March 1, 2010 at 12:47 pm
    I think that at this point, this is the kind of advertising that will get through to our society. After all, we are so desensitized that watching Sarah McLachlin talk about animal abuse just doesn't cut it. However, seeing a crying child in pieces on the floor strikes a chord.

  33. Julia
    March 1, 2010 at 6:53 pm
    wooow. those creative guys are genius!

  34. Phil E. Drifter
    March 1, 2010 at 7:36 pm
    That cocaine ad is stupid, because if cocaine weren't illegal, there wouldn't be any violence as a result of it. And it's wrong anyway, because coca is cheap and plentiful in South America. The violence only comes as a result of the US forcing the world to enforce it's laws.
    The war on (some) drugs is the US's cash cow and it's excuse to trample on the rest of the world.

  35. TOMTOM
    March 1, 2010 at 8:12 pm
    Here's another one i found. Its very simple but very effective in its use of negative space

    • Sarah
      March 13, 2010 at 10:10 am
      God. That's one of the most triggering things I've seen in a LONG time. Feeling sick to my stomach.
      Not only this, but a number of these ads make me wonder - where do survivor's rights come into play here?

  36. Nina
    March 1, 2010 at 10:30 pm
    Great stuff, all very much inspiring and breathtaking!
    Thanks for sharing Smile

  37. Liz
    March 1, 2010 at 11:38 pm
    Wow... I'm still kind of in shock over some of these. I think it's great though, when art makes us uncomfortable we might actually do something about it. I was really caught by the Amnesty International one, I think the 3rd or 4th down. I actually opened a tab to look at the site. Great Job!

  38. nithin
    March 2, 2010 at 12:57 am
    this photos sucks..........Irritating

  39. Phoenix
    March 2, 2010 at 2:26 am
    These are great, because they tell the truth. I think we could need some more of these to peel us from our neat little "another oatmeal cookie?"- and "would you rather like this iPhone, or that new flat screen"-reality...

  40. Bagus
    March 2, 2010 at 2:53 am
    nice collections,,
    and im sure those creative people behind these advertisements are brave to push the boundaries.

  41. Erin
    March 2, 2010 at 6:27 am
    I was disgusted by the picture of the seal and the beaten baby. I would have rather seen a beaten adult, to be honest. I still think it would have been controversial enough to draw attention. Being a parent to a small child and also being pregnant, thats too much to see for me. I think its too insensitive. But besides that one, I really enjoyed the list.

    • Aidan
      March 2, 2010 at 12:22 pm
      Hi Erin, I hope you are doing good. Please note that "Viewers Discretion Is Advised!" Insensitive it may be, but it sure bring down a strong message though I agree not all are able to handle it.

    • deb
      March 8, 2010 at 2:17 pm
      Well Erin,
      We club a lot of BABY seals. Being disgusted is exactly the right reaction because it's an horrific and disgusting practice.

      • Cammy
        March 9, 2010 at 3:05 pm
        this is gonna be really bad..and i have a really BAD insensitive joke for it don't read if you don't like that. a seal walks into a club...

    • shun
      May 30, 2010 at 4:22 pm
      Erin, the reason (i think) they are using the picture of a baby is because human are doing that to baby eye for an eye right?
      ps. i dont think this is about what u rather see, its about what is actually happening out there..

  42. Bogcess
    March 2, 2010 at 6:46 am
    Great ads man! You definitely caught my attention.

  43. Amanda
    March 2, 2010 at 9:56 am
    All of these ads are stunning. Like someone mentioned before, it's a shame that it takes that much to strike a chord with anyone anymore. More people need to see them. Censorship will only bring ruination.

  44. weez
    March 2, 2010 at 11:53 am
    censorship is not the problem, ignorance is.
    shock value is not the answer, education is.
    get a grip, think for yourself, stop believing everything you're told.

  45. fuentevilla
    March 2, 2010 at 1:26 pm
    very nice examples, they're very aggressive and cold. I like the way they try to make an impact on the spectator.

  46. Kristin
    March 2, 2010 at 2:48 pm
    What a thought provoking and disturbing collection. However, I couldn't figure out what is controversial about the Pastorini Toy Store ad. What am I missing?

    • Aidan
      March 2, 2010 at 4:39 pm
      Hi Kristin, the little girl is playing with real animals, treating them like a toy. I guess it sort of sending the wrong message to people.

  47. Vikas Kataria
    March 2, 2010 at 7:23 pm
    Creativity is a good thing. But this is uptight gross stuff.

    • Aidan
      March 2, 2010 at 10:27 pm
      Vikas, I guess creativity and grossness doesn't work for you though. Razz

      • Vikas
        March 3, 2010 at 6:21 am
        Well, it depends on the subject. Anyway, there are few ads which I really liked though. RSPCA: Woman , Squid & Stella Coffee Pot: Spider. Hats off to people who can think, I mean really think. Mind over everything else I guess.

  48. Lauraenriketa
    March 3, 2010 at 4:37 pm
    Buenisimo! Hay alguno verdaderamente impresionate!

    • Aidan
      March 3, 2010 at 5:21 pm
      Buenisimo! There are some truly impressive amount! Greetings
      This is the translation to English.

  49. Bea
    March 4, 2010 at 1:36 am
    Guauuuu, some of them are realy disgusting and confusing, but others are just master pieces of advertisement....

  50. pgrafico
    March 4, 2010 at 5:25 am
    hi there... i live in mexico and and i have interest in use some of this images, this are free to use, or i have to pay for it?

    • Aidan
      March 5, 2010 at 1:49 am
      Hi pgrafico, you are free to use the images but please give relevant credits back to the origin of the images.

  51. Enrico
    March 6, 2010 at 7:49 am
    Hi Aidan,
    very impressive. I collected some sexy ads on my blog, eventually it's interesting for you?
    If not, feel free to delete this link.
    greetings from Germany

    • Aidan
      March 6, 2010 at 1:03 pm
      Thanks for sharing Enrico!

  52. Alejandro
    March 7, 2010 at 11:38 am
    Increible, tremendo post!!
    Lo compartiré en mi Blog.

  53. Sara
    March 8, 2010 at 9:19 am
    I don't even understand alot of these. What the hell is Canex?

  54. deb
    March 8, 2010 at 2:21 pm
    I really like the Arthritis ad. Some of these are too much for me, but that one was clear & effective without being over the top. Just turning on a faucet is like agreeing to grab a bunch of spikes. Every single time. That's pretty powerful.

  55. Dany Vilela
    March 8, 2010 at 11:45 pm
    Wow, amazing collection... Really compelling ads... You can't just look at them without thinking about these issues.
    Every month, I also publish a selection of creative ads, hope you'll have time to take a look to my article too!

    • Aidan
      March 8, 2010 at 11:57 pm
      Hi Dany,
      Thanks for sharing.

  56. Megan
    March 9, 2010 at 12:41 pm

  57. Elena
    March 9, 2010 at 5:56 pm
    Some of them were definitely jucky. Was that guy sniffing panties? Kiss my glass was funny and the bug thing, bout frogs. Nice collection, thanks for sharing.

  58. jbwww
    March 9, 2010 at 10:46 pm
    Advertising kills too.

  59. gen
    March 10, 2010 at 1:53 am
    awesome stuff. very inspiring

  60. איביי
    March 10, 2010 at 2:45 am
    very nice!

  61. James Hart
    March 10, 2010 at 2:56 pm
    Hi Aidan,
    I am delighted, enchanted and some what inspired by the thought provoking creative and perfectly stimulating work. All I can think of is: what is next, need to see more, more shocking and bold ideas that can put sense back to words when it comes to media verses human interaction and media and consumer products.
    Thank you for sharing,

    • Aidan
      March 10, 2010 at 7:15 pm
      Hi James, thank you for your comment.

  62. Johnson Koh
    March 10, 2010 at 5:13 pm
    Excellent collection! Your first cockroach hand gross me a lil haha!

  63. Aidan
    March 10, 2010 at 7:19 pm
    @Johnson, the cockroach hand also gross me for a while.
    @Juan, I agreed with you on that.
    @Charlie, it true that every single person read an advertisement with different feelings and perspective.
    Thank you all for the comments.

  64. Taylor Satula
    March 11, 2010 at 7:45 am
    Really makes you think

  65. keith
    March 13, 2010 at 7:50 am
    what's with the gay ads? that shouldn't be public or acceptable.

    • Kelly
      April 1, 2010 at 3:09 am
      Straight people aren't the only ones who have to be careful about sex.
      most of these AREN'T public. If you can't handle the fact that there other people who live their lives differently from you then you are obviously very narrow minded.

  66. yusi
    March 14, 2010 at 12:52 am
    wow.. what a creativity! i adore kiss my glass Smile

  67. juan
    March 24, 2010 at 11:59 pm
    aids is not only gay .... stupid people

  68. Ravi Ahuja
    March 26, 2010 at 11:33 pm
    Great post. What a great creative ads.

  69. lorraine
    March 27, 2010 at 1:06 pm
    i,m sorry ,but the shock of seeing those pictures took away all meaning and understanding of what the message was all about in the first place....which to me is a wasted advertisement...people need to be educated, and not to think they are watching a horror movie or being manipulated into a way of thinking that just doesnt seem real........a bit like sarcastic brain washing crap...makes you resent the message the person is trying too put across...just plain old education in the way we can feel the empathy or the concern that we so understand so one likes violence or cruelty in any form......

  70. Hermitbiker
    March 28, 2010 at 7:29 am
    .... for a world that has become "de-sensitized", extreme advertising seems to be the way to go.... they do seem to catch your interest right away.... but I do see lawyers making a big deal out of these.... I like these all !! Smile

  71. Damon
    March 29, 2010 at 8:45 am
    Is it really that "extreme" to straight people to see gay people in an advertisement? Or just to the ones in the advertising industry? Given that those AIDS ads were clearly targeted at a gay audience, it's probably reasonable to speculate that they weren't banking on the apparent shock value of seeing The Gays.

  72. Honza
    March 29, 2010 at 5:59 pm
    Goodness me! These ads kick some serious butt. Very shocking indeed. I think that the ones that worked on me are featuring the pests. Given my cultural upbringing, this is quite a lot to handle. Nonetheless, I assume these ads would work.

  73. Trevor
    March 29, 2010 at 9:34 pm
    The ads drawing attention to social and humanitarian issues are good, and I think rouse deserving attention to important causes. But the ones that are just advertising some dumb cleaning product or chocolate -- the shock value is cheap and not merited.

  74. Entityphoto
    March 31, 2010 at 5:28 am
    Very thought provoking images. Very impressive ideas.

  75. husein
    March 31, 2010 at 6:57 am
    waaaoouuuz great

  76. alekx
    April 12, 2010 at 1:07 am
    good honesty.

  77. Sami
    April 29, 2010 at 3:32 am
    these are interesting but one thing that doesn't make sense to me is the pictures of the little girl smoking, Yeah it's understandable that kids do what they see, but at the same time making a kid hold a lit cig so you can take her picture to prevent child smoking. But just thing about it, when that little girl gets older she might not thing to much about smoking she might think " oh well they used me in a smoking picture when i was younger, it didn't hurt me then so why would it hurt me now" Not meaning to offend anybody so don't freak out, I have 2 points of view.. But i do like the messages the photographer got through, very inspiring.

    • Felicity
      June 4, 2010 at 12:50 am
      the girl was not holding the cigarette. If you pay close attention, the arm with the cigarette is much wider than her other arm. The arm holding the cigarette was Photoshopped in.

  78. jhpq
    May 15, 2010 at 12:08 am
    only gay guys can get hiv or what?

  79. Kohls Coupons
    June 8, 2010 at 1:46 am
    Wow, some of these are really wild, thanks for posting them!

  80. Laurie
    June 11, 2010 at 2:41 am
    Thanks a bunch! Now ill have nightmares all night!!!!

  81. fireRoxy
    June 16, 2010 at 11:34 pm
    wow! great collection. thanks for sharing.

  82. louis vuitton
    June 22, 2010 at 5:01 pm
    Thanks a bunch! Now ill have nightmares all night!!!!

  83. pacochun
    June 24, 2010 at 5:02 am
    verdaderamente impresionante, cada una de las piezas tiene lo suyo.

    • Aidan
      July 25, 2010 at 6:15 pm
      Truly impressive, each one of the pieces have his.
      This is the translation to English.

  84. Beauchamp Web design
    June 29, 2010 at 12:13 am
    Very extensive collection, thanks for sharing them

  85. kidsgetinghurtisfunny
    June 29, 2010 at 5:53 am
    that was some funny stuff it made me laugh so hard.

  86. Christiana Kohn
    July 6, 2010 at 3:27 am
    Wow, einige davon sind recht heftig. Da mein Internet nicht so schnell ist, habe ich heute Stunden damit verbracht, so viele wie möglich anzugucken ...

    • Aidan
      July 25, 2010 at 6:14 pm
      Wow, Some of it are quite violent. Since my Internet is not so fast, I spent today hours to look at so many as possible...
      Here's the translation to English.

  87. Ngage
    July 16, 2010 at 3:40 am
    I think some of these are so disgusting that no one should see them...ever. Some of them are kind of clever and eye opening but most of them are just in poor taste if you ask me.

  88. suresh
    August 26, 2010 at 12:09 pm
    Some ads are thinkable and few are disgusting... Try to be design more ads that people will react about ......

  89. Haavard Aurstad
    August 26, 2010 at 2:17 pm
    Aidan. WOW, what a list of extreme ads. The first one "Just liquid hand wash: Cockroaches" was pure shocking! Jaw drop.
    This is the perfect example of what a good ad can trigger of feelings. Very powerful. Something we all should learn. Thanks for sharing this.
    - Haavard

  90. prefabricated
    August 31, 2010 at 8:42 pm
    Fantastic post, this is a gem. To find these websites pain because the sites themselves do not make it easy to know if they are free,

  91. too much
    September 2, 2010 at 10:27 am
    I found some of them so shocking I couldn't hang around to receive the message so a lot of them just don't work, for me at least and probably some others.

  92. Kristina Berry
    September 23, 2010 at 5:27 pm
    Great collection of ads and fantastic post, has played a huge part in my research for my 3rd year university dissertation on shock advertising. I'm currently researching into the effectiveness of shock advertising and need all the help i can get, if anyone knows of any great sites, has any opinions or views on the topic, knows of anyone in the field or anything that could help in anyway i would be forever grateful of the help Smile

  93. Craig
    September 28, 2010 at 7:04 pm
    that seal one is unbelievable!!! shocking works! some great designs above, shame that we have to be so shocking to get the message accross! i like some of the humorus ones too Smile

  94. usingjquery
    October 16, 2010 at 12:18 am
    quite disturbing!

  95. Stacey
    October 28, 2010 at 9:27 pm, hats off to these daring, brilliant and creative minds

  96. Paul Baines
    November 18, 2010 at 9:37 pm
    It's like Banksy says, all the best new artists have gone into advertising...

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MessagePosté le: Aujourd’hui à 09:09 (2018)    Sujet du message: Richard Branson

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