Perceptions of ads fall in France

29 September 2011

PARIS: The number of consumers holding a negative view of advertising has increased in France, but perceptions of brands have remained largely stable, according to a study.

TNS Sofres, the research firm, polled 1,006 people in the country, and found 49% of this audience generally paid attention to ads they were exposed to via TV, magazines, the internet and other media.

Such a figure constituted a decrease from the 57% registered in 2008, although it also marked a slight improvement on the 48% delivered in similar analysis published during 2010.

By contrast, the proportion of respondents ignoring brand messages stood at a low of 43% in 2008, before expanding to 52% in 2010 and then contracting to 50% in 2011.

Using a ten-point scale, TNS Sofres asked the panel to rate their overall impression of advertising, and revealed totals had deteriorated to four points, versus 4.7 points in 2004 and 4.2 points in 2010.

More specifically, 81% of interviewees regarded ads as "invasive", 66% depicted them as "banal", 57% perceived commercials as "aggressive", and 53% saw them as being "dangerous".

Positive descriptions included the fact ads were "informative" on 52%, and could be "entertaining" on 46%. However, scores on the latter metric fell by four percentage points compared with 2010.

Elsewhere, 48% of adults believed ads were useful and 43% thought they were convincing, both drops from 12 months ago.

The share of participants who actively enjoyed advertising came in at 13%, a decline measured against the peak of 20% recorded in 2004, 2006 and 2008, and one point down from 2010.

Equally, the amount of contributors with unfavourable opinions rose from 25% in 2004 to a high of 37%, also a three-point lift over the last year. The rest of the sample was neutral.

Upon being requested to assess major everyday brands, consumers awarded the products concerned an average of 5.8 points out of ten, a rating which has stayed essentially constant since 2005.

A further 67% of shoppers agreed these goods were desirable, 68% saw them as innovative and 58% viewed them as reassuring. Less encouragingly, just 39% felt respected by brands.

Data sourced from TNS Sofres; additional content by Warc staff