I read an article the other day about an online survey asking American adults if they believe the claims companies make in their advertising.Â The poll was conducted by Adweek Media/Harris Poll, they surveyed 2,098 U.S. adults online and found that only 1Â in 5 Americans say they trust that advertising is honest in its claims all or most of the time. They also said, a majority trust that advertising claims are honest sometimes, and just over 1 in 10Â say they never trust that advertising is honest. When did we all get so suspicious? Maybe it was in the 40's and 50's when cigarette companies were claiming cigarettes are good for your image, or that 7UP and milk is a wholesome drink that you should give to your kids, or that your husband will throw you over his knee and spank you if you don't buy our brand of coffee.
So, guess what, the poll also revealed that although all adults seem somewhat unsure about the believability of advertising claims, older adults are more suspicious than their younger counterparts. Gee, do we see a connection here? 90% of young adults aged 18-34 say they trust advertising claims at least sometimes, while only 86% of older adults agree. The breakdown goes something like this: 86% of adults aged 35-44 , 84% of those 45-54,Â 81% of those 55 years and older say they trust claims sometimes.
Now here come the true skeptics... according to the poll almost 1 in 5 adults 55 and older say that they never trust that advertising is honest, compared to less than 1 in 10 among 18-34 year olds. That's because those older adults were being fed outrageous doses of over-the-top feel-good advertising campaigns.
The moral to this little story... If advertising is created to sell a product, service or even an idea, it's helpful if the message is not only clear, but also believable to the target audience.