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We enjoyed this recent ‘top 10′ of controversial ads

Among those causing offence, Ashley Madison and The Sun were no surprise. But the unexpected reactions to KFC’s ‘talking with your mouth full’ ad show just how careful you have to be when trying new ways to grab attention.

The complaints weren’t upheld – and the extra publicity was no doubt welcome – but KFC probably became a little more wary after that. And some of the entries in the list were extremely costly mistakes. Which is a salutary reminder that pushing the boundaries has to be a carefully calculated risk. A risk based on really knowing your audience, whose responses to anything out of the ordinary can be highly personal.

It’s one reason why we always read each other’s work before anyone else sees it. So we hope we never have to eat our words. (And if we do, we promise not to while singing about fried chicken.)

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