TORONTO, Dec. 3, 2013 /CNW/ - Canadians understand and accept the role
advertising plays in their lives and most have a favourable impression
of advertising. But truth in advertising is paramount to them - and
they will change their purchasing behaviour if an ad is unacceptable to
them. These are some of the findings of the latest consumer research
conducted for Advertising Standards Canada (ASC).
More than 1,500 Canadians participated in the on-line poll designed by
The Gandalf Group to take the pulse of Canadians' impressions and
perceptions of the advertising they see, hear and read every day.
"When it comes to advertising, Canadians are clear, truth is paramount,"
said Linda J. Nagel, President and CEO of Advertising Standards Canada.
"Advertising that fails to meet consumer expectations can have a direct
impact on an advertiser's bottom line. Canadians speak with their
wallets, and if an ad is not acceptable to them they have - and will -
Key Findings about Canadian Attitudes towards Advertising
79% of Canadians understand and accept the role that advertising plays
in supporting the content they enjoy.
The majority of Canadians agree that advertising is helpful in their
decision making as consumers.
When asked to provide examples of advertising that bothers or offends
them, 41% cited issues related to misleading or false advertising,
followed far behind by 12% who cited issues with sexual content and 11%
who cited issues with stereotypical depictions.
When asked to choose, by a large margin, respondents say they are more
concerned with advertising they find misleading (85%) than personally
92% of respondents say they would be likely to stop purchasing a product
or service if the company offering it ran advertising they considered
unacceptable because it was not truthful, was not accurate or was
offensive to them. In fact, 61% say they have stopped purchasing a
company's product or service because the company's ads were
unacceptable to them.
Essentially, Canadians want ads to inform. There appears to be an
understanding and comfort that advertising exists to persuade, but
Canadians want them to do so in a truthful manner.
In fact, 85% of respondents found the following to be unacceptable to
them in advertising: promoting "free" products or services that are
subject to fees; not including all costs in the advertised price; using
image-altering software to highlight the results that can be achieved
from product use; and inaccurately depicting what a product is or can
Canadian Values and Advertising
The survey results demonstrate the influence of advertising in shaping
the values of society; 47% believe advertising shapes societal
values, while 41% believe advertising mirrors societal values.
"Canadians' views on advertising are reflective of our changing society
and how we as Canadians welcome and embrace diversity," said David
Herle, Principal Partner, The Gandalf Group. "A large majority of
Canadians are accepting of ads that portray same-sex couples or
families. This is a major shift from what we would have seen just a few
years ago, and shows the inclusiveness of our society."
Canadians overwhelmingly find the following unacceptable in advertising:
themes of violence, ageism, sexism and racism; demeaning portrayals of
persons with disabilities; poor treatment of animals; disrespect for
the environment; and depictions of bullying. "The research shows a
compassionate Canada. Canadians are unequivocal in their disapproval of
advertising that demeans or denigrates others, particularly those who
are vulnerable," said Linda J. Nagel.
And finally, not surprisingly, a gender gap exists in views on what is
acceptable in advertising. Men are more comfortable than women with
nudity—either male or female nudity—sexual themes and unrealistic body
Advertising Standards Canada
Founded in 1957, ASC is the national independent advertising industry
self-regulatory body committed to creating and maintaining public
confidence in advertising. ASC members - leading advertisers,
advertising agencies, media and suppliers to the advertising industry -
are committed to supporting responsible and effective advertising
self-regulation. A not-for-profit organization, ASC administers the Canadian Code of Advertising Standards, the principal instrument of advertising self-regulation in Canada, and
a national mechanism for accepting and responding to consumers'
complaints about advertising.
The Gandalf Group
The Gandalf Group is a provider of public opinion research, strategic
communications advice and issues management. The company combines
expertise in advanced statistical research, law, branding and
About the Study
In 2013, ASC commissioned The Gandalf Group to measure Canadians'
opinions about advertising. In October 2013, a randomly-drawn
representative survey of 1,534 adult Canadians focused on understanding
Canadians' attitudes about advertising.
The ASC Survey: 2013 Consumer Perspectives on Advertising can be
downloaded at: www.adstandards.com/2013research.
SOURCE: Advertising Standards Canada
For further information:
Hill & Knowlton Canada