Why the ASA believes developing its own brand will help restore confidence in ads


With new data revealing that public trust in the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is a powerful driver of trust in the advertising industry as a whole, the advertising watchdog is on a mission to develop its own brand and increase its level of spontaneous awareness.

Indeed, consumers who saw the recent ASA advertising campaign in Scotland were around two-thirds more likely to trust the advertising industry than those who had not, and 50% more likely to trust the advertising industry. trust most advertisements.

Developed in partnership with the Advertising Association’s Trust Working Group and with the establishment of The Leith Agency, the Scottish campaign has appeared in the nation’s media space and has promoted the role of the ASA in helping to keep “legal, decent, honest and truthful” advertisements.

The regulator hoped to raise public awareness of the existence of a body regulating advertising in the UK both online and offline, CEO Guy Parker told Marketing Week: “[We wanted] to make sure people know that we are covering online advertising and social media ads, because this is an area where we know the public is less aware that there is a regulator with their backs.

Currently, the ASA has elicited about 60% awareness, Parker says, although spontaneous awareness is “much lower.” Compared to other regulators, the Watchdog scores well on these metrics – however, there are still plenty of consumers unaware that ASA exists, Parker notes.

Yet speaking to such consumers in focus groups and telling them about the ASA, the organization found that they were “really happy” that a regulator was monitoring advertising. “So we know this is really fertile land,” Parker adds.

This is a great opportunity for media and platforms to do their part by providing space and airtime for the full rollout of this campaign in the UK.

Guy Parker, ASA

About a third (33%) of Scottish adults recall seeing or hearing the ASA campaign, its own research claims, and ‘encouragingly’ the number of Scottish adults who are now more certain than an organization exists to complain about the advertising increased by 50%. at 56%. These numbers are drawn by those who had seen the ASA announcement (of which 61% were certain).

Recognition of the ASA logo is on the rise and trust in the watchdog is a third higher among those who have seen or heard the ad.

“[Those are] pretty positive results in anyone’s books and it shows that this is a lever that we can pull to increase confidence in advertising, ”Parker said.

Public favor for advertising reached an all-time high of 25% in December 2018, according to industry think tank Credos, which also found that trust in advertising is in decline over the long term.

A follow-up study revealed at the Advertising Association’s Trust Summit today (October 6) shows that public trust in UK advertising has improved in recent years, up 25% since 2015. However, d The other industries monitored have seen the same upward trend, which means advertising is still ranking. among the least reliable sectors.

Calling all media owners

ASA is now focused on rolling out its campaign to the rest of the UK. However, the organization being financed by a levy of 0.01% on advertising, it lacks the budget to purchase the necessary media space.

The regulator is therefore calling on UK media owners and platforms to donate space and airtime for the campaign, which will help improve confidence in the ads they broadcast.

“This is a great opportunity for media and platforms to do their part in providing space and airtime for the full rollout of this campaign in the UK,” Parker said. “We know from this research that it builds confidence in the ads they make money with.”

Trust in advertising has never been more important

In addition to helping improve public confidence in advertisements, Parker believes that a stronger and better known ASA brand could help the industry maintain its system of self-regulation and avoid heavy government intervention.

“It’s a piece of a bigger puzzle,” he says. “There are other audiences we need to talk to about the importance of the system as well, especially parliamentarians. “

The industry’s permission to self-regulate has come under somewhat threat in recent years, with the UK government introducing new digital regulations such as the Online Safety Bill and restrictions on the advertising of high-protein foods. fats, salt and sugar (HFSS). There’s probably more legislation to come, Parker suggests, and while it’s not necessarily an “existential threat,” the ASA wants to make sure it’s seen as the “front line” of regulation.

“It’s really important that we also educate these audiences that the ASA is the front-line, one-stop-shop regulator for advertising in the UK, and that we cover online,” says Parker. “We are efficient, we offer great benefits to consumers and responsible businesses, and online regulation is a challenge. “

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