Shock is sometimes used by marketers to sell entertainment, news, and various products. In retailing it works by first getting the consumer's attention, then the sales pitch is applied.
It may be exaggerated, gory, disgusting, and in very bad taste socially, but the technique is meant to make sales. Note the progression of explicit television in recent years.
What more productive place to market in a shocking way than to the youths who are curious, looking for excitement and a change from what was. When a situation that is socially abnormal or generally unacceptable is portrayed to a very young mind, it may register as a natural act. Then the child has been influenced very badly about that aspect of life.
I heard a TV producer, on a national radio documentary, state that their television program ratings were dropping and that they decided to introduce more shock.
Shock is also used to market one’s talents (or lack of) in the arts and entertainment. It gets the much needed attention that can be so difficult to attract where talent and creativity may be lacking. How many in the entertainment business have sold out their real beliefs under pressure from the execs?
Using shock to sell products to gain profits might be a sign of the times, but at what consequences to the citizens?
As John Clapham said - "Economic advance is not the same thing as human progress."