A Hong Kong view of offensive advertising

Gerard P PRENDERGAST*, Benny Ho, Ian Phau

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

    46 Citations (Scopus)


    Considerable research has been conducted on offensive advertising in Western countries. However, not much is known about consumers' views of offensive advertising in an Asian context. This research, which was conducted in Hong Kong, aimed at identifying what product/service advertisements consumers find offensive, what executional styles consumers find offensive, consumers' tolerance of offensive advertisements in different media and the effects of offensive advertisements on consumers' purchase intentions. The results from a survey of 200 consumers showed that chat-line services and funeral services were considered the most offensive products or services to be advertised. When looking at the manner of advertising, sexist themes, indecent language and nudity were found to be the major reasons for the respondents finding advertisements offensive. In general, direct mail was considered to be a medium that prompts lower tolerance by consumers to potentially offensive advertisements while men and women's magazines were considered to be media that prompt higher tolerance to potentially offensive advertisements. Finally, it was found that levels of advertising offensiveness had an effect on purchase intentions.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)165-177
    Number of pages13
    JournalJournal of Marketing Communications
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2002

    Scopus Subject Areas

    • Business and International Management
    • Marketing

    User-Defined Keywords

    • Consumers' attitudes
    • Hong Kong
    • Offensive advertising
    • Purchase intentions
    • Tolerance


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