Over 50% more ads amended or withdrawn in 2022
The number of ads amended or withdrawn as a result of action taken by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) increased by more than 50% last year.
A total of 31,227 ads were amended or withdrawn in 2022 as a result of action taken by the Advertising Standards Authority, a 53% increase on the year prior.
The vast majority of these (94%) were the result of proactive work by the ASA, such as tech-assisted monitoring. The remaining 6% was based on reactive work responding to complaints.
However, the ASA received 24% fewer complaints in 2022 compared to the previous year. In total, the advertising watchdog resolved 33,542 complaints relating to 21,110 ads last year, and delivered more than 1 million pieces of advice and training to businesses.
Online ads made up around half of all complaints (18,430) – although this figure is down 11% on 2021 – but this represents around two-thirds of cases. The majority of complaints and cases were about content on brands’ own websites or social channels, followed by influencer content, paid-for online ads and video-on-demand.
TV ads made up half of all complaints but two-thirds of cases, while out of home was the third most complained about ad media.
With 6,727 complaints, brands within leisure attracted the most negative feedback by sector. While retail was the biggest offender in 2021, the total number of complaints about ads in this category is down 53%, putting it third behind health and beauty (up 6% on 2021). Complaints about ads in food and drink came fourth (down 18%), followed by non-commercial organisations (down 42%) and business (up 3%).
The majority of offending ads were deemed to be ‘misleading’ following investigation by the ASA. For non-broadcast ads, this represents 67% of complaints and 75% of all cases, while for TV ads this drops to 21% of complaints and 37% of cases.
A significant number were also deemed to cause ‘harm’. For non-broadcast ads, this represents 13% of complaints and 14% of cases, but for broadcast ads this rises to 16% of complaints and 24% of cases.
TV was also home to a higher portion of ‘offensive’ ads. Nearly two-fifths (18%) of complained about TV ads were deemed to be offensive, 22% of all cases. This compares to 5% of complaints and cases for non-broadcast ads.
There was ‘no issue’ found with nearly half (45%) of complained about broadcast ads (17% of cases), versus 15% of non-broadcast ads (7% of cases).
Consumer confidence improves for fourth month running
Consumer confidence has risen for the fourth month in a row, however the UK is still “deep in negative territory” and a long way from “sunny uplands”.
The latest GfK Consumer Confidence Barometer shows a three-point uptick in consumer confidence, to -27. In contrast, last month confidence grew by six points, signifying a slight slowdown in growth for May.
This month marks the best overall score since February 2022 when the score was -26.
This is reflected in how people feel about their personal finance situation over the coming year increasing five points to -8, a sharp increase on May 2022’s -25.
People’s confidence in their personal financial situations over the past 12 months, however, grew by just one point to -20.
Similarly, the score for consumers reflecting on the general economic situation over the last 12 months grew one point to -54, whereas the forward-looking score for the next 12 months is up four points to -24, an increase on -35 in May 2022.
The major purchase index, an indication of how likely people are to buy big ticket items, is up four points in May to -24, up from -35 last year.
Gfk client strategy director Joe Staton points out that people’s forward-looking perceptions are generally better than how they feel looking back.
“It’s the future that matters most to marketers,” says Staton, who asks “Do we now have tantalising evidence that the great British public is seeing a chink of light at the end of the tunnel? Are people slowly but cautiously becoming more optimistic?”
Brand campaign effectiveness almost doubles while performance effectiveness slides
Brand campaign effectiveness has nearly doubled in the past two years, research from the DMA finds. However, short-term performance marketing effectiveness has declined by 62% in the same period.
Overall, marketing effectiveness was below pre-pandemic levels for the second year running, according to the research. It recorded an average of 2.4 business, brand or response effects per campaign in 2022. This was the same as the average recorded in 2021, and is down on 2020’s average of 3.1 and 2019’s average of 2.8.
The figures come from the DMA’s ‘CMO Measurement Toolkit’, published in partnership with Merkle, which aims to help marketers better prove their effectiveness. The report draws on insights from the DMA’s Effectiveness Databank, which consists of over 1,200 DMA award entries from the last six years.
While linking marketing objectives to business outcomes is a crucial part of proving the worth of marketing to the rest of the business, the DMA’s research finds very few organisations are doing this. Just 8% of marketing measurement KPIs were linked to business objectives in 2022.
“Marketing effectiveness is below pre-pandemic levels for the second year running, so we must prioritise implementing effective measurement to combat the industry’s worsening measurement crisis,” says DMA director of insight Ian Gibbs.
Proportion of people experiencing sexual harassment in advertising industry halves
The number of people experiencing sexual harassment in the advertising and marketing industry has halved versus 2021, according to figures pulled from the Advertising Association’s (AA) All In Census.
In the 2021 All In census, 3% of women and 2% of men reported they had experienced sexual harassment in the workplace. This year, 1% of women and 1% of men reported they had experienced it. There were 19,000 respondents to this year’s All In Census, significantly up on 2021’s figure of 16,000.
Research from timeTo, a group set up in partnership between the AA, WACL and NABS to end sexual harassment within the marketing and advertising industries, found concerns during the pandemic that sexual harassment would rise when employees returned to offices. In 2020, almost half (49%) of respondents to a survey said this was a concern. However, the figures from the All In Census are down compared against 2021, despite there being more in-person mixing.
“There is no doubt that we should be proud we are moving in the right direction; the Census results show the power of what we can do if we work together and we have every right to celebrate what has been achieved,” says timeTo chair Kerry Glazer. However, she notes that 2% experiencing sexual harassment is still 2% too high.
“But we need to be mindful that the job isn’t yet done. timeTo’s goal is to see zero people experiencing sexual harassment in the workplace. The way to do this is to get more people experiencing our training to drive and maintain awareness and behaviour change.”
Source: Advertising Association
Vast majority of financial services failing on trust
The majority of financial services brands are failing to build trust online with consumers, according to research which finds four out of five financial services brands are failing online trust signals across a number of key measures.
The study of 50 household brands, including banks, comparison sites and insurance firms by digital marketing agency Balance, reveals the majority are not following Google’s EEAT (Experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness) guidelines and the FCA’s upcoming Consumer Duty rules.
Each brand could have been awarded a score of up to three across four different areas – accessibility, experience, expertise and authority – to give an overall trust score out of 12.
Just one brand – which falls in the price comparison category – of the 50 analysed scored top marks in each area. At the other end of the spectrum, one bank – a well-known household name – scored zero.
Overall, price comparison websites performed best with an average score of 9.4, followed by consulting firms (9), investment firms (7.9) and banks (6.5). The worst performers were insurance firms (5.9) and building societies (5.3).
Alex Murphy, co-founder and CMO at Balance, describes the findings as “troubling”, especially given the imminent introduction of Consumer Duty in July. Meanwhile, the economic downturn means “businesses are fighting to survive and correct financial choices are more important than ever for consumers”, he says.
“While many marketers are looking at how to make their businesses perform better in Google, and many compliance teams have a keen eye on Consumer Duty, no one else appears to be noticing the gaps between the two. In this lies a huge opportunity for financial services companies, but more importantly, to join the dots to a better experience for customers,” he adds.