Consumers see value in advertising

16 July 2009

BRUSSELS: Some 72% of consumers agree advertising helps stimulate the economy, while 68% say it contributes to the development of better products and lower prices by encouraging competition, a global survey by the World Federation of Advertisers and The Nielsen Company reveals.

The WFA and Nielsen undertook The Value of Advertising study to "provide a better understanding of consumer perceptions of the benefits of advertising," and to demonstrate these advantages to policymakers and key opinion formers.

Based on a poll of 25,420 adults in 50 countries around the world, the two organisations reported that 81% of this group recognised that advertising helped to fund a wide range of sporting and cultural events.

This figure reached 80% with regard to the positive role it played in creating jobs, while 67% of respondents acknowledged that commercial funding supported the generation of media content.

Furthermore, 68% of the sample argued marketing communications helped "inform better choices", while 66% thought ads were "entertaining", and 63% said this material "informs society" on important issues.

By region, Asia Pacific registered above-average scores on almost all of the previously-mentioned metrics, with over 70% of people highlighting the favourable role of advertising in each of these areas.

This included some 83% of those polled stating that advertising improved employment levels, and 78% who said the same for the state of the economy.

Three-quarters of participants across these countries also viewed advertising as a source of entertainment, and as a tool which meant people made more informed choices.

Similarly, over 80% of their counterparts in the Middle East and Africa were of the view that ads supported sport and culture, created jobs, reduced prices and assisted them in making better purchase decisions.

A total of 78% of respondents in these geographies also regarded advertising as entertaining, leaving them behind only their counterparts in Latin America, on 79%, in terms of enjoyment.

In the latter region, around eight out of ten consumers said advertising was beneficial on all of the measures assessed, except funding media content and informing society, where totals fell to around six in ten.

By contrast, in Western Europe, just 48% of people regarded advertising as being entertaining, while 49% said it enabled them to make more educated decisions.

Around 60% also said it contributed to the delivery of media content, economic growth and lower prices. (These figures were largely similar in Eastern Europe.)

In North America, over 70% of contributors saw advertising as helping sport and culture, the economic and employment markets, and offering lower prices and better choice.

However, this approval rating fell to 62% in terms of funding media content and informing society, and 59% in relation to its entertainment value.

Data sourced from World Federation of Advertisers; additional content by WARC staff