Young Adults More Trusting of Advertising
If advertising is created to sell a product, service or even an idea, it's helpful if the message is not only clear but also believable to the intended audience. However, only one in five American adults say they trust that advertising is honest in its claims all or most of the time (19%). Rather, a majority say they trust that advertising is sometimes honest in its claims (65%) and just over one in ten say that they never trust that advertising is honest in its claims (13%).
These are some of the findings of a new Adweek Media/ Harris Poll, survey of 2,098 U.S. adults surveyed online between October 5 and 7, 2010 by Harris Interactive.
Differences by Age
Although all adults seem somewhat unsure about the believability of advertising claims, older adults are more suspicious than younger adults. While fully nine in ten young adults aged 18-34 say they trust that advertising is honest in its claims at least sometimes (90%), fewer older adults agree – 86% of those 35-44 say this, as do 84% of those 45-54, and 81% of those 55 years and older. Conversely, almost one in five adults 55 and older say that they never trust that advertising is honest (18%), compared to less than one in ten 18-34 year olds who say the same (8%).
Regulating Advertising Claims
When asked who they trust to ensure that advertising is honest in its claims, Americans are split as three in ten say that they trust regulation by the government to ensure advertising is honest in its claims (29%), while 23% say they trust the self-regulation by advertisers and advertising industry more. However, half of Americans say they trust neither (48%). Just as younger adults showed less skepticism about advertising honesty, younger adults also show more confidence in the various regulatory checks and systems. Adults aged 18-34 are more likely than those 55 and older to say both that they trust government regulation (33% vs. 26%) and advertising self-regulation (26% vs. 18%) to ensure that advertising is honest. Not surprisingly, more than half (56%) of older Americans, 55 and older, say that they trust neither the industry nor the institution to regulate advertising honesty, compared to less than half of those 35-44 (44%) and 18-34 (41%) who say the same.
While younger adults tend to trust the various systems of regulation more than older adults do, Americans with higher education say they trust the government to regulate advertising much more than those with less formal educations do – almost two in five who have graduated college say that they trust government regulation (38%), compared to three in ten who have attended, but not graduated, from college (29%), and less than one-quarter who have not attended any college (22%).Continued on the next page