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A shock to raise awareness: South Africa’s POWA experiments December 20, 2010

Posted by rmshepard in Uncategorized.
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A South African group called People Opposing Women Abuse released a new advertisement recently based on an experiment they ran that produced some shocking results. Curious to see if residents of an apartment development would report a domestic disturbance, the group had a resident play drums one night to see how many people confronted him, and followed on another night by playing a horrific recording of domestic violence that sounded very real. While many people knocked on the resident’s door while he played drums, nobody came around to complain about the domestic dispute.

The ad’s creators considered the episode to be an eye opener. Moreover, the ad has been a real hit online, seen by millions of people, and ultimately raising awareness of the abuse of women.

To see the POWA ad yourself, watch the following clip:

Discussion Questions:

1.  Why are “shock ads” like that of POWA so effective in raising awareness of certain social issues?

2.  Are there limitations in persuasive strategies designed to shock an audience?

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