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A growing research literature suggests when and why audiences will be offended by advertisements. The content analysis reported in this article tests hypotheses derived from the literature using actual consumer complaints about advertisements delivered via the mass media. Findings supported four of the study's five hypotheses, supporting conclusions that (1) audience members are more likely to be offended by offensive themes than the products, services, or ideas advertised; (2) some themes are predictably more offensive than others; and (3) advertisements delivered via more intrusive media are offensive more often than those delivered via other media. Implications of the study's findings regarding widespread audience offense are discussed.
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