Preference Choice Publication

Public trust in advertising increasing in the UK - report

David Murphy

The UK advertising thinktank, Credos, has revisited its Public Trust in Advertising research from 2018 in a new study, Rebuilding Public Trust in UK Advertising, which was launched at an industry summit hosted by the Advertising Association, IPA and ISBA at the Curzon Soho in London today. The findings show public trust in UK advertising has improved in recent years – increasing 25 per cent since its 2015 low point.

The Credos research has also interrogated the positive and negative drivers which most affect public trust, showing that while bombardment remains the biggest driver of distrust, this has diminished slightly since 2018. The most significant driver of trust by is engaging and enjoyable creativity, at an increased level since 2018.

The study found that the public continues to respond best to high quality advertising that entertains and engages; research showed the quality of advertising is the most important positive driver of public trust with an importance score of 32/100.

The social contribution of advertising (as examined in Credos’ Advertising Pays 8 report) was the second most significant driver of trust with an importance score of 10/100. The industry’s work during the pandemic to promote health messages was cited as an important factor, as was increased diversity of representation in advertising’s work. Credos’ report cites the impact of a positive social contribution as an opportunity for the industry to do more on big issues, such as climate change.

The report highlighted increased concerns about the boundaries of advertising in our lives, with bombardment seen as the most important driver of the public’s distrust in advertising (19/100).

The significance of misleading and invasive advertising techniques (including a growing experience of scams or fraudulent communications) as a driver of distrust increased more than any other driver between 2018 and 202, mostly driven by younger consumers. For these younger consumers, this is now the number one driver of negative perceptions towards advertising. Those who are the least trusting of advertising believe there aren’t enough regulations.  

“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,” said Stephen Woodford, Chief Executive of the Advertising Association. “Working with AA members across the industry, we have focused on delivering a ‘Trust Action Plan’ to arrest the decline of public trust in advertising. 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.”