A Current Events Commentary Blog from a Public Relations/Marketing Perspective.
Donald Tremblay, a PR/Marketing specialist who has been “making it rain” for over a decade reviews today’s news, sports, entertainment, etc . . .

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Shock Still Sells

For nearly 12 years I served as Public Relations Director for the professional boxing promoter Main Events. The company promoted some of the biggest pay-per-view events of the past two decades, such as Holyfield- Foreman, Lennox Lewis-Mike Tyson, and Lennox Lewis-Evander Holyfield. It also promoted “Howard Stern's New Year's Rotten Eve 1994” ppv event. One afternoon while seated around the conference room table, my co-workers and I each predicted what we thought would be the highest-selling PPV event in history. Unanimously we agreed that it would be a live execution: a hanging, the electric chair, a firing squad, etc . . . Morbid? Yes. But considering the public’s hunger for the outrageous, it is also probably accurate.

Whether it is a shock jock spewing edgy comments or a television program testing the nudity boundaries of network television, marketers know that people want to be stunned. The more mechanical and rote our lives become, the stronger the need for a jolt to awaken us from our daily slumber. The trouble with shock is that eventually we become desensitized, resulting in the need for even more extreme measures to grab our attentions.

This week’s episode of the teen drama “Gossip Girl” featured a sexual threesome. Although many parents were upset by this prurient gimmick for increased viewership, if history is any indication the episode will probably score high ratings. As the NY Daily News pointed in a recent article, “When advertisers boycotted the launch of 'NYPD Blue,' while initially financially problematic, it helped boost early audiences and made that show a long-running hit.”

And therein lies the problem. We consumers lament the “crap” we are served by the TV and movie industries; yet we continue to gobble it up in ever greater amounts (see reality TV).

So who is to blame but ourselves?


  1. This is so true....I remember way back when boxing and "Cage Fighting" were to violent, LOL now anything goes.. and it does....nothing is offense just watch HBO....nothing is sacred....

  2. just look at how many people order UFC on payperview every month