Consumers criticise ad agencies in US

21 April 2009

NEW YORK: Some 66% of Americans says ad agencies are partly responsible for causing the economic crisis by encouraging consumers to buy products outside of their price range, while 33% argue they have "complete or a great deal of responsibility," Harris Interactive reports.

A survey of 2,200 people found that 7% of respondents attached "complete responsibility" for consumers' over-spending to agencies, with 16% saying they were "not that" responsible, and 18% attributing no blame whatsoever to this category.

Responses varied by age, with around 60% of those aged between 18–34 and 35–44 apportioning some blame to agencies, compared with 65% of 45–54 year olds, and 75% of over-55s.

A total of 59% of those surveyed also agreed that print media had "at least some responsibility," with news and information websites posting 56%, and TV and radio talk shows scoring 55%.

This total fell to 54% for cable news shows, 53% for network and local news, and 46% for friends and family.

Overall, just over half of 18–34 year olds attached some responsibility to print publications, online and cable news, a figure decreasing to just under 50% for each of the other categories assessed.

Among over-55s, print media was ascribed some responsibility 67% of the time, with 62% saying the same for news websites, and just under 60% for all other categories except friends and family, on 42%.

More than half of 35–54 year olds also argued each category except friends and family had some role in causing people to buy products they couldn't afford.

Data sourced from Marketing Charts; additional content by WARC staff