Extreme Fear Advertising Is Not My Cup Of Tea

February 13, 2013

Advertisers love to play on our emotions, trying to create a strong enough response for us to take action. Ads tap into our desires for love, happiness and success. But they also delve into our fears.

We’ve seen plenty of “fear ads” from law enforcement and groups such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Sure, these ads might scare us, but they tend to carry good messages for consumers — don’t do drugs, join gangs or don’t drink and drive.

What about a commercial that scares consumers beyond belief while attempting to sell tea? That doesn’t seem to make sense.

Herbaria Fear LogoWell, Herbaria, a Germany-based health food company, has a new ad that takes fear advertisements to the next level with a commercial, entitled “Fears.” The commercial features Leatherface from Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the Grim Reaper and a murderous clown being drowned by tea bags, before flashing the tag-line “Drown Your Fears.” It turns out, the product being advertised is a calming tea, which can help you relax.

I understand that the commercial’s message is that Herbaria’s calming tea can relax you even in the most intense of times. The advertisement is also effective is many ways. There shock value, it plays on the emotions of the potential consumer and it is something people will definitely remember.

However, your thoughts after seeing the commercial were probably very similar to mine after watching it for the first time. No amount of calming tea can help me relax from the mini horror movie I just watched. Herbaria’s ad, no matter how memorable it may be, takes fear advertising too far and ultimately takes away from the product being sold — a tea you can drink in order to relax. This type of extreme advertising diminishes the true art of creating an effective ad by only seeking shock value and not actually selling the product.

Would you buy Herbaria’s tea after seeing a commercial like that?