Truth in Advertising: Does It Really Matter?

27 Apr Truth in Advertising: Does It Really Matter?

I’ve blogged several times about the importance of authenticity in marketing your brand. Of course, not all brands need to be authentic and trustworthy. Less expensive retail items like jeans or pop don’t require a big story. Typically, bigger ticket items do. For instance, when you need a lawyer, you want someone you can count on. When you buy a new car, you want to get it from a dealership you trust. Yet car dealers and lawyers rank quite low on the ‘believability’ list.

The Toronto newspaper, The Globe and Mail, published an interesting article that was gleaned from Advertising Standards Canada (the self-regulatory group that oversees the ad industry). Of the 1275 people interviewed, here’s what they learned:

– 24% find ads misleading or unrealistic
– 21% find ads sexist
– over 65% stopped purchasing due to bad ads

Looking at particular industries, with car dealers & law firms, 66% of those surveyed were uncomfortable.

So which types of media do better at persuading prospects to trust the seller? Turns out people trust the accuracy of ads more in traditional media, like print and broadcast. On the other hand, online media, such as banner ads and social media score much lower in their effectiveness at conveying trustworthiness.

– AM/FM Radio: 51%
– Television: 47%
– Google ads: 21%
– Banner ads/social: 18%
– Popup ads: 10%

So if your business requires prospective new clients to trust you, broadcast media will generally deliver much better results than online media. And if you’re trying to persuade prospects to put their faith in your brand, your customers are three times more believable than you are! So whenever possible, have them tell your story and spread your message.

Mike McCurlie
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