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EMAC 2021 Annual Conference

Impact of Using Shocking Images on Road Safety Campaigns Effectiveness. A Consumer Neuroscience Approach

Published: May 25, 2021


Jesus Garcia-Madariaga, Complutense University; Ingrit Moya Burgos, Complutense University; Blasco López Maria-Francisca, Universidad Complutense de Madrid


Each year hundreds of people die in fatal accidents on roads. A worrying situation aggravated by the consumption of alcohol and/or drugs. To reduce the incidence of this problem, national governments invest millions of euros in awareness campaigns, most of them using a fear appeal, concerning which at today there is still no scientific evidence to support its effectiveness. This study aims to evaluate the impact of shocking images on road prevention advertisements on both, the implicit and declared audience reactions, to identify whether the negative impact derived from shocking images really contributes to greater advertisement effectiveness. To achieve this, two groups of 44 subjects visualized two ads (one with shocking content and the other without), while their neurophysiological reactions were recorded with neuroscientific devices. After analyzing the implicit and explicit responses of the subjects, we reached the conclusion that using shocking images does not guarantee the effectiveness of road safety ads.


This work was funded by grant RTC-2016-4718-7 from the Spanish Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness.