Trust in advertising industry ‘boosted by ASA campaign’

Rebuilding trust is the “most crucial issue” facing the advertising industry, says the AA, which is calling on more brands to take part in the next iteration of the campaign in 2023.

Source: ASA

A campaign by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has successfully rebuilt some trust in advertising among the public, with those who saw or heard it 80% more likely to trust the ad industry, according to its own study.

The campaign featured high-profile brands such as Tesco, Marmite, IRN-BRU, Lloyds, and Churchill, and borrowed brand assets including Tesco’s “Every Little Helps” strapline and Churchill’s canine brand character.

As well as being more likely to trust the industry as a whole, those who saw the campaign were also 50% more likely to trust most ads, versus those who didn’t, it was revealed in a webinar today (25 May) hosted by the ASA and Advertising Association (AA).

The research and results is based on an online survey conducted in January this year with 2,983 UK adults aged 16 plus.

Rebuilding public trust in advertising is “the most crucial issue” for the industry, according to the AA.  According to November 2022 research from Ipsos Mori, advertising industry executives are the second-least trusted profession in the UK, ranked above politicians, but below government ministers and estate agents.

“The public is our most important customer, and we are committed to taking long-term action to rebuild the public’s trust in advertising,” says AA CEO Stephen Woodford.

Research carried out by the UK advertising’s think tank, Credos, has shown that the public is more likely to trust and have favourable views towards the industry, when they are aware it is regulated. Therefore, the ASA embarked on its biggest-ever awareness campaign, running across TV, print, online, cinema and OOH channels.

Why the ASA believes growing its own brand will help restore trust in ads

It was developed in partnership with the AA’s Trust Working Group, with creative from The Leith Agency and media planning by EssenceMediacom. It was rolled out in October 2022, following a pilot scheme in Scotland in 2020.

Those who saw the campaign were also more likely to trust advertising across different types of media; for example, trust in online ads doubled from 16% to 32%, while trust in TV advertising went from 36% to 51%.

“Trust in the ASA is significantly higher following the campaign, driven by those who saw or heard our ads. And promoting trust in the ASA boosts trust in both the ad industry and ads,” says ASA chief executive Guy Parker, adding that the plan going forward was to partner with more brands to roll out this campaign further this year.

Tesco chief customer officer and AA president Alessandra Bellini says the brand was “delighted” to see its “Every Little Helps” strapline utilised in the campaign.

“Our customers’ trust in the Tesco brand and communications is very important to us and that is why we wanted to support this campaign, in partnership with the ASA, to reinforce the credibility of the Brand and Advertising Industry,” Bellini says.

“I urge other advertisers with well-known brand communication ideas, to consider taking part in the future campaign”.