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3

It's always about the brand. What does the brand stand for in it's audience's mind? Is it offensive, irreverent, tasteless? Then you have to live up to that. Anything less wouldn't be true to their intended message. If you aren't comfortable with that type of material, you shouldn't be working with a brand that stands for it in the first place. Another ...


2

Purely from a graphic designer's POV, it's a decision that each designer has to make on their own based on the particulars of the given situation. In general, being offensive isn't a typical marketing strategy, though it does get used. You as a designer have to decide if you want to work on projects that are purposefully attempting to be offensive.


4

Great answers here, I just wanted to mention something that hasn't been raised yet (except in the question), and it's the matter of dignity. Humor, even if slightly offensive for a group or the other, is one thing. I love humor. Playing on people's weaknesses for the sake of profit is entirely different. I don't mind the 'colorful' Benetton ads, but I do ...


6

I second Emilie in saying that everything will offend someone somewhere. Personally, I am pretty sick of people finding offence left right and centre. Some people are looking for things that will get their knickers in a twist, and as Alan so elegantly points out: pleasing everyone ends up in the bland, the invisible and - at best - mediocre work. And ...


8

De gustibus non est disputandum applies. What is tasteless, like what is humorous (or not), varies with culture, fashion, sensitivities and the prevailing political climate. It is also a personal matter, so my answer is personal. Like anyone, I have my own views on what is acceptable. This isn't a matter of being snobbish; it's that I want to hang onto my ...


4

This is really Your Mileage May Vary, or in this case Your Audience's Mileage May Vary. What one audience thinks is tasteless is another audience's boring. The multi-racial family in the Cheerios ad, for example: in some corners of the U.S. it's shocking to the point of boycotting the cereal, in some areas the reaction is "Finally!", in some it's "huh? ...


2

I don't think it is marketing genius as you could get as much visibility with a great ad that is not tasteless. As for the calculation, I don't think there is a way to do the calculation by yourself, especially if you're not the target audience. Different target audience have different flexibility for humor, you likely won't have the same tolerance for ...



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