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Political messages impact ad industry

News, 02 March 2016

NEW YORK: Over 40% of US consumers suggest that political ads negatively impact their view of advertising as a whole, according to a new study.

The 4A's (American Association of Advertising Agencies) and research firm SSRS surveyed 1,000 adults regarding their attitudes on various topics related to paid-for political messaging.

Fully 45% of respondents agreed that the content of political ads made them "think less of advertising in general", while 52% disagreed with this view.

Just 25% of the sample asserted that election-focused communications adversely impacted their attitude towards mainstream consumer ads for brands and products, though, whereas 73% took the opposing perspective.

Elsewhere, a 71% majority of interviewees knew that political advertising was subject to different regulatory standards than the commercially-driven alternative, the analysis revealed.

A further 40% of the panel did not think the same agencies created ads for politicians and products alike, compared with 36% who thought the same shops fulfilled both tasks, and 24% who were unsure.

"It's encouraging to see voters understand that ads for products and services are held to a different standard than political advertising," Nancy Hill, president/CEO of the 4A's, said.

"It's also good to see so many people are savvy enough to know the agencies who create most consumer advertising are not the same agencies creating political ads."

When discussing the content of political ads more specifically, some 20% of contributors felt these communications are too negative and 15% thought they "mostly present false messages". Less than 10% said political ads ultimately shaped how they vote.

Data sourced from 4A's; additional content by Warc staff