The majority of research about offensive advertising has been conducted in Western countries. However, little is known about consumers’ perceptions of offensive advertising in an Asian context, especially offensive advertising on the web. This study, conducted in Hong Kong, furthers Prendergast et al.’s (2002) study by including the web as a medium, and aims to identify what types of web advertising consumers find offensive, consumers’ tolerance of offensive advertisements on the web relative to offensive advertisements in other media, and the effects of offensive web advertisements on consumers’ purchase intention. Results from a survey of 240 interviewees indicated that gambling and chat-line services were considered the most offensive products to be advertised on the web. In terms of appeals, consumers were most sensitive to advertisements that contained nudity or had a sexist attitude. Perceptions of offensiveness and how it affects purchasing behaviour were clearly related to demographic variables such as age, educational status and gender. Relative to other media, interviewees were least tolerant of offensive advertisements on the web.
Scopus Subject Areas