New research reveals creativity is the top driver of trust in UK public’s advertising experience

Sep 20th '23

According to the study by Credos, creative quality remains the biggest reason for trust in advertising, while younger audiences in particular cite ad bombardment as their main source of mistrust.


The report, led by Credos (the UK advertising industry think tank) and conducted by research agency Craft, interrogates the levels of public trust in advertising and sets out the reasons behind a widening generational gap in attitudes.


Key findings include:


  • The most significant driver of trust in advertising remains a positive one – engaging and enjoyable creativity
  • Ad bombardment remains the biggest driver of distrust, and its importance has increased significantly for younger audiences since 2021
  • Attitudes to advertising sit within a much broader set of individual values and views, such as how people feel about living in a consumer society
  • The media ‘world’ in which a person was socialised is fundamental to shaping expectations of and attitudes towards advertising. Older people were socialised in a more static media landscape, whereas younger people have grown up in a world supplemented by ever-changing web-based media
  • Advertising’s social contribution was the second most significant driver of trust
  • Data privacy is more important in driving distrust for 35-54 year-olds, versus other age groups
  • The public has a much broader definition of advertising – this includes everything from sponsorships to window displays to packaging
  • The significance of misleading and invasive advertising techniques (including a growing experience of illegal scams or fraudulent communications – which the public view as advertising, in line with the above point) as a driver of distrust has decreased since 2021
  • Those who are the least trusting of advertising believe there aren’t enough regulations, but there is an opportunity to address this by increasing the public’s awareness of the industries’ work around regulation.


A number of the issues raised in Credos’ Trust Report – such as addressing ad bombardment and tackling financial scam ads – are key priorities for the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB UK) Gold Standard. IAB CEO, Jon Mew, also explored how they can take steps to collectively solve ad bombardment in a piece for the Advertising Association/Credos earlier this year.


Source: IAB UK


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