The good news. Americans polled by the Gallup Organization rated ad professionals’ ethics as “very high” or “high”.

The bad news. Only 9% of the sample believed this, ranking the mired profession of stockbroker as more trustworthy with a rating of 12%.

Ad folk, however, can console themselves with the thought that they at least outrank car salesmen (6%) and telemarketers (5%) in the trust stakes.

Joe Public’s verdict on the ethics of the ad business?

2001 rating in parentheses
‘High / Very High’ = 9% (11%)
‘Average’ = 50% (56%)
‘Poor / Very Poor’ = 36% (27%)

Nurses, predictably, dominated the favorable end of the poll with 89%, followed by military officers with 65%.

[Advice to PR firms pitching for the image refurbishment account: after shaking hands, count fingers.]

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff