Overall positive: Australians’ sentiment towards advertising
“I enjoy most children’s advertising for things such as toys, clothing, etc as there’s always a fun aspect to it and it’s youthful and carefree”
For the past two years, IPSOS and the AANA have partnered on Advertising Sentiment Index; a twice yearly tracker that monitors community sentiment towards advertising content. The ASI gives the AANA important insights that help us maintain the self-regulatory codes in line with prevailing community standards. We thought it helpful to share some of these insights with you.
Overall sentiment towards advertising in Australia continues to be positive, although there has been a notable decline in positive sentiment amongst the youngest age group (18-29 years) according to the latest measurements in the AANA Advertising Sentiment Index conducted by IPSOS. Reason for concern continues to revolve around misleading content, high frequency, gambling ads and targeting children as well as increasing sexual content.
Online continues to be perceived as the most ‘untrustworthy’ media, but these negative perceptions have been softening over time. Cinema, outdoor, radio and print are seen as the more ‘trustworthy’ media with TV also seeing improvement.
Finance, Alcohol and Health & Beauty sentiment scores have improved since Aug’19 with Government initiatives sentiment softening following a peak in August 2019.
Portrayal of sex, sexual images and nudity in advertising saw on overall decline of 8 per cent in favourable sentiment this survey. 1 in 3 Australians see the topic unnecessary to be advertised, not good for kids to be exposed to it, and demeaning toward women, as they are predominately portrayed as sexual objects. Some observations include:
- General agreement there is no place for sexual imagery to be used.
- Core areas of concern relate to women and to concern for children.
- Woman are objectified (beautiful, thin, revealing clothing); should not be used as sex symbols; acknowledgement that ‘sex sells’ as a way to stand out, but should not degrade in the way Ultra Tune has presented their material.
- Children should be totally protected from this material.
- References to men were limited, but observations about underwear ads in shopping centres left little to the imagination and a ‘bit much’ when considering kids were also in that audience.
Sentiment is also declining towards advertising of social issues. Overall, social issues are considered not to be talked about as much as they deserve. There is a belief that society is too sensitive to address some of the problems, and scepticism around genuineness of the advertising nature, citing the advertiser’s gain rather than an honest call for change. Comments included:
- Perception is that these can be biased or exaggerated (too negative/depressing) depending on the advertiser and their cause, and for that reason, belief in the message can be doubtful or lost altogether.
- Concern raised that it can lead to stereotyping rather than supporting the cause for which it’s intended.
- Messaging can be well intended, but creative execution may let it down, such as recent Mardi Gras timed ads.
- There are those who also feel that the mainstream forum is not a place for generating awareness for more nuanced issues.
Finally, almost 2 in 5 see advertising about products for children positively mainly attributed to being informed about new products for child’s development, as well as awareness the category’s strict regulation and ads portraying happy and active kids. Other comments:
- These ads were seen to convey fun, healthy and uplifting images of children being happy, a ‘feel good’ situations applied to most of the communications.
- Generally seen to promote good things for kids to play with, do with their peers or family.
- Provided a functional value in showing people what kids like and what is on offer for that age group.
- Not really seen to be suspicious, with assurance that while they can be ‘over the top’ in terms of the array of things on offer for children, it was regarded as well regulated, protected and represented diversity well.
The AANA | Ipsos Advertising Sentiment Index (ASI) measures the Australian community’s perception of advertising issues and content. The Index helps inform the AANA’s advertising self-regulatory code development agenda and most recently lead to changes in the Code of Ethics with the additional guidance on body image in advertising.