People trust ad execs even less than estate agents and Boris Johnson – send for a doctor

Who’d be an ad executive these days? Your clients don’t like you (even the ones who think you’re OK think you’re charging to much), you’re accused of sexism and harassment on a regular basis and if you’re a really unlucky male there may be a female creative director with a chip on both shoulders who wants you out.

Ad execs have come a triumphant last in the latest Ipsos MORI Veracity Index which has measured trust in so-called professions since 1983, lagging even politicians including government ministers. Top, of course, are healthcare professionals, nurses and doctors, even though they get up to no good at times – with far more dire consequences than even the worst ad. Another line of work to score highly is “professors,” although we didn’t know you could choose that as a career.

Journalists come out pretty badly too, by the way, on 26 per cent (ad execs are 16 per cent), lagging even estate agents.

Before everyone sinks into a slough of despond it’s worth noting that ad execs aren’t paid to tell the truth (the whole truth anyway) about their clients but to say what they do say truthfully – which is different. Journalists are, though, in so far as they know it (they get lied to a lot.) Should an ad exec refuse to work on Amazon, Facebook or Google because they harvest data and don’t pay their fair share of taxes: tricky.

By and large ad agencies say what their clients tell them to although they may embellish it a bit. In many instances, though, they probably tell the client to steady on – even if simply on the grounds that they won’t get away with it.

The survey is still somewhat dispiriting, however, especially given all the effort agencies and their various trade bodies (not to mention clients like Unilever) have put into good works over the past decade or so. Target missed, it would seem. Maybe bodies like the Advertising Association and agency grouping the IPA should try to address this.

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advertising association trust in advertising Veracity index

About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.

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