Public trust in advertising creeps up, says new AA report

The Advertising Association has been on a drive to rebuild public trust in advertising, and it seems to be working. Now 55 per cent of the public trust the industry, up from an all-time low of 44 per cent in 2015, according to a new study by think tank Credos.

Advertising still comes pretty low in the pecking order though: trust in other industries, which included banking and finance, retail, music, phones and mobile technology, gaming, energy, and media, was at a much healthier average of 72%.

That gap is closing, with the current discrepancy between advertising and the rest of the business world running at 17 per cent, down from a high of 18 per cent in 2019. In 2015, when advertising was at its lowest point in the public’s esteem, at least it was only 13 per cent behind everyone else.

Advertising’s highest point was in 2010, the year that David Cameron took over from Gordon Brown as prime minster, when it reached 56 per cent public trust levels.

The biggest drivers of trust in advertising are good creative work, and a social contribution (purpose really does pay), while bombardment and misleading techniques are the factors that is still dragging it down.

It seems the Advertising Standards Authority can play an important role in improving the industry’s image, because those who are least trusting think there aren’t enough regulations in place – which could be because only 12 per cent of the public are even aware of the ASA.

Stephen Woodford, Advertising Association CEO, said: “The public’s trust in our work isn’t a nice-to-have, it’s a must-have and has been central to the Advertising Association’s work these past three years. As all the evidence shows, trust pays – with better returns on campaigns and better long-term value for the brands they support. The new Credos research provides us again with brilliant insights on how to improve our relationship with our most important customer, the public.”

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