Previous research has classified offensive advertising into matter (offensive products and services) and manner (offensive execution). This study was designed to (1) develop a more comprehensive schedule of offensive advertising and (2) identify the psychological predictors of taking offense. A survey conducted in Hong Kong and Shanghai showed that offensive advertising could be classified into three categories: advertisements dealing with offensive sexual matter, advertisements for offensive nonsexual matter, and advertisements displaying an offensive manner. Of these categories, manner was perceived as the most offensive. Self-esteem and susceptibility to interpersonal influence both were significant in predicting the level of offensiveness for all three types of offensive advertising.
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