NEW YORK: Consumers in the US trust the ads of soft drinks brands more than communications from products in any other category, a new study has found.

Adweek, the trade title, and Harris Interactive, the research firm, recently conducted a survey of some 2,136 Americans, in order to discover their views about advertising.

Overall, 34% of the panel agreed that ads from firms like Coca-Cola and PepsiCo were the "most trustworthy", a total that climbed to 39% among 18–34 year olds, and 40% for 35–44 year olds.

Fast-food specialists like McDonald's and Burger King came in second place on this measure, on 22%, with 45–54 year olds displaying the highest levels of confidence in this sector.

Pharmaceutical companies were in third position, on 18%, with automakers on 14%, and financial services providers on 13%.

In-keeping with this trend, 38% of the sample said financial brands delivered the "least trustworthy" advertising, with pharmaceutical manufacturers on 29%, and members of the auto industry on 19%.

Fast-food and soft drinks posted figures of just 10% and 4% respectively in this area, the Adweek–Harris poll found.

Looking across all the segments assessed, an average of 20% of contributors agreed they could believe the marketing claims made by brands.

"Advertisers have many different challenges they must overcome each time they develop an advertisement," the report said.

"Regardless of what individual advertisers create, if an industry's ads are not seen as trustworthy, their ads may be less credible and less effective."

Edelman, the PR agency, published its 2010 Trust Barometer last month, which revealed that advertising was not regarded as a credible source of information by "opinion leaders" in 20 major markets.

Data sourced from Harris Interactive; additional content by Warc staff