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Research shows awareness of the ASA boosts public trust in advertising

Advertising Association

3 min read Partner content

Advertising Standards Authority campaign increased trust in the regulator and positively impacted public trust in UK advertising

March 22, 2024, London, UK: The latest results of an annual awareness campaign for our industry’s regulator were revealed at a webinar, hosted by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and the Advertising Association (AA) this week (March 21). The findings show that those who saw or heard the ASA’s ads were more than twice as likely to trust the ad industry, and twice as likely to trust most ads than those who didn’t.

Rebuilding public trust in UK advertising is a critical part of the advertising industry’s agenda, led by the AA’s Trust Working Group, which is chaired by the IPA and ISBA Director Generals, Paul Bainsfair and Phil Smith. This ad campaign has become a key part of the industry’s trust programme, as research from UK advertising’s thinktank, Credos, has shown that when people are aware advertising is regulated, they are more likely to trust and have favourable views towards the industry generally.

As well as those who saw or heard the ASA’s ads being more likely to trust the whole ad industry, the findings also revealed that when asked about trust in ads by media channel, there were higher levels of trust across all media. For example, trust in online ads jumped from 15% among those who didn’t see or hear the ASA’s ads to 36% among those who did, while trust in TV rose from 31% to 46%.

The multi-channel campaign was developed by the ASA in partnership with the AA’s Trust Working Group, with creative from The Leith Agency and media planning by EssenceMediacom. Businesses including Tesco, Marmite, IRN-BRU, Lloyds, and Churchill featured in the campaign, which ran on TV, print, online, cinema and OOH channels.

The UK-wide campaign was backed with advertising inventory from media owners including ITV, News UK, Sky, Mail Metro Media, The Guardian, Daily Telegraph, Evening Standard, Channel 4, Bauer, K107, Future and Reach plc. In digital media, it featured on YouTube, Yahoo, TikTok, Pinterest and Meta’s channels. Out-of-home, the campaign was backed with inventory from Alight Media, Clear Channel, JCDecaux and Ocean Outdoor, and saw support from Pearl & Dean in cinemas.

Guy Parker, Chief Executive of the ASA, said: “We’re delighted that our UK-wide cross-media ad campaign continues to drive trust in the ASA and, by extension, trust in the ad industry. Awareness and buy-in of the ASA system is a key strand in our new five-year strategy and our ad campaign plays a crucial role in helping achieve our ambitious targets.

“The ongoing support of our partners, agencies, brands and media, is invaluable. Our ads resonate with audiences and help land our messages, including that the ASA regulates advertising claims on social media and companies’ own websites. Crucially, trust in the ASA continues to be significantly higher among those who say they have seen or heard our ads than those who haven’t. That’s more reason to look forward to the next phase of our campaign.”

Stephen Woodford, Chief Executive, Advertising Association, said: “Huge thanks to all the brands and media owners who have given their support to this ongoing campaign, as well as our agencies Leith and EssenceMediacom for making it happen.

“Trust is the top priority for the AA’s membership and is at the core of our work. This campaign and these results show how consistent cross-channel communication can help increase awareness of how ASA regulation underpins public trust. As the ASA invests in new technology and launches a new five-year strategy, we’re encouraging everyone to consider what they can do to support the upcoming 2024 campaign.”


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