Kristina Auxtova Headshot

Research Topic

Understanding and regulation of shocking, offensive, and controversial appeals in charity advertising

Research Summary

Kristina’s research aims to develop a nuanced in-depth understanding of shocking, offensive, and controversial advertising within the non-profit sector. Her research explores the regulatory processes of such advertising with an emphasis on interpretations of different stakeholder groups involved, including the non-profit organisations, advertising creatives, regulators, and audiences. Her thesis takes a multi-method approach and is structured around three main chapters: 

  1. a systematic review of shocking, offensive and controversial advertising
  2. a critical perspective on the regulatory process based on a complaints analysis examining how offence and harm have been attributed to non-profit advertising by complainants and regulators and how the associated organisations responded in light of these formal complaints and adjudications
  3. a visual and textual rhetorical analysis of complained-about offensive advertising.

Kristina hopes that her research will help to contribute to the debate on the appropriateness, ethics and application of shocking, offensive or controversial themes, formats, and imagery in non-profit advertising. She also hopes it will lead to a decrease of instances of intentional offence in advertising and help find solutions to how the non-profit sector can best use shocking, offensive, and controversial execution tactics or advertise such themes for the issues they are organisationally concerned about.

Research Area

Research Taxonomy


Kristina is a PhD candidate in the Marketing Group, funded by ESRC as well as by the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Science Scholarship. She entered the programme in September 2014. Throughout her PhD, she was a teaching assistant on Marketing II; Business Research Methods II; and in the new MOOC - Introduction to Marketing: Tools to Set Enterprises Apart. While finalising her PhD, she has now taken a position as Lecturer in Marketing at University College Cork, Ireland.

With a strong interest in research in a public policy setting, Kristina undertook a PhD internship at the Scottish Government, researching Scotland's nationwide approach to quality improvement in its public services.

Prior to beginning her doctoral work, Kristina completed a Master Grande Ecole in International and European Business at EM Strasbourg Business School in 2013, graduating with a distinction and with her dissertation being awarded the highest possible mark (20/20). She also graduated with a Bachelor of Arts with Honours in International Management and Intercultural Studies (1st class) at the University of Stirling.

Her Master’s dissertation won the 1st prize in the annual competition of ‘The best bachelor’s or master’s thesis and doctoral thesis on the topic of philanthropy, volunteering and the third sector’ awarded by the Centre for Philanthropy in Slovakia. It was announced to be the best student work in the 7 years of the competition's existence, which is open to Slovak and Czech students.

Throughout her studies, Kristina has gained varied experience in translation and interpretation, sales, marketing (promotion, data collection and online marketing) and product management. She is also TEFL qualified and has several years of experience in teaching English as a foreign language and she was a French Language Teaching Assistant at the University of Stirling in 2014. Other than English and French, she also speaks Spanish, Slovak and Czech fluently.

Kristina was the President of the Doctoral Society within the Business School in 2015/2016.