News & Opinion

How do we REbuild public trust in advertising?

Discussing the biggest ever ethnographic study of public trust in advertising, representatives from the ‘Trust Working Group’ came together to talk about how to rebuild trust in the industry. 

On the back end of the Advertising Association’s recent report ‘Arresting the decline of public trust in UK advertising’ together with its new President Keith Weed, CEO of the Advertising Association Stephen Woodford brought together ISBA’s director generals Phil Smith and Paul Bainsfair, managing director at DMA Group Rachel Aldighieri and Digital Cinema Media CEO Karen Stacey.

The talk provided interesting insights on public trust in advertising, citing research from Credos that showed that trust in advertising had fallen from 50% in the early 90s to just 25% in 2018. The research then unveiled the six factors affecting public perceptions including bombardment, unhealthy advertising and the exploitation of vulnerable people.

In response to the above, the report looks at five actions the industry should make to rebuild trust:

  1. Reduce advertising ‘bombardment’
  2. Reduce excessive advertising frequency and re-targeting
  3. Ensure that the ASA is ‘best in class’
  4. Ensure that data privacy matters
  5. Show that advertising can drive social change

The actions are a response to what Woodford refers to as putting the “public first” and “putting the public at the heart of these issues”.

Stacey confirmed this by talking about the accountability we should all have in the industry, saying that “you have a responsibility to your customers to advise how to use your media”. With that in mind, she added that it is no surprise that trust has declined, calling on the industry to self-regulate and respect the responsibility we all have.

On bringing the actions to life, “just because we can, doesn’t mean we should” became the motto of the panel. Particularly relevant to data, the speakers called on advertisers to rethink how we reuse data and proposed that advertisers use it in the interests of the customer rather than the brand.

Concluding the session, ISBA’s Phil Smith added “this is just chapter one, we need to keep pushing this forward to affect real change”. 

Watch this space!

Watch out for updates from Cannes Lions 2019 on the Cannes Lions hub and on Twitter.

Ad Association 20/06/19

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