Primary Research: Adverts that scare.

I have used the same five participants for this part of my primary research however focused on adverts that have the intention to create fear and disturbance within an audience.

The five participants are:

  • Emily Gardner, third year PR and Journalism student.
  • Victoria Gornicki, third year Physchology student.
  • Lianne Edward, third year Geography student.
  • Abi Smith, third year Politics student.
  • James Connolly, junior designer.


This advert was a Phones 4 U advert released in 2011.

Lianne: I remember being so scared when I first saw this on the tv! Creepy characters are just not for me. Everything in this puts me on edge, the scary high pitched sound makes me feel really uncomfortable.

Abi: When the little girl kept appearing I didn’t like it. It’s that whole feeling of someone watching you and catching something move out the corner of your eye.

Emily: I actually felt panicked when she was trying to open her car as the music just got higher and faster.

“I Am A Crisis”- British Red Cross

This campaign video was for British Red Cross, originally aired in 2011.

Emily: That was creepy, it was different from the Phones 4 U as it created fear through what was being said rather than what was being seen. The use of the dog was good as it was quite intimidating.

James: There was a background sound which wasn’t really music but it was really overwhelming, it distorted the imagery and made me feel really on edge.

Victoria: The lighting was really dark which made me fearful as I didn’t feel as if I was getting the full image, as if there was something really sinister about to happen.

From this primary research I have a learned that:

  • Sometimes fear is created through not what you see but what you don’t see. The fear is greater for what you cannot see and understand.
  • Lighting is important, the darker the lighting the more fearful and on edge my participants were.
  • Background noise is key for creating fear. Music is sometimes not as effective but the disturbing ‘white noise vibrations’ are what created emotion. 

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