What do Congress, lawyers, and pharmaceutical salespeople all have in common? Answer: people like them more than AdLand. At least according to the Ipsos OTX survey in January, the above fields behave with more integrity than those in advertising.
Not the best survey to serve as the bottomfeeders.
To the regular observer of the marketing and advertising landscape (hence, AdLand), this consumer distaste for ad professionals is nothing new. Yes, even those in the advertising industry polled last year stated that they thought their own work was detrimental to our society.
What we continue to see is a disconnect between what AdLand is churning out, what consumers want to see, and the actions of the consumers once they see what AdLand provides. It's a tricky situation that obviously remains unsolved.
So what can be done? We could start with what research and actions actually correlate.
The report is called Sex, Lies, and News and it suggests that consumers are quite tired of sexual imagery in advertising. The data confirms the sentiment; numerous reports show that brands that use sexual or overtly sexual appeals do not do better than those that don't. Also, studies suggest that people who buy products while physically stimulated have a bigger chance of experiencing buyer's remorse.
Two pretty strong reasons for scratching the sex out of ads.
The truth in advertising movement is thankfully a popular one with a way to go. We appreciate the scrutiny that is put on AdLand, but we must remember: We are the messengers. If consumers hate how products and services are portrayed, they should stop buying the products until the C-Suite notices the concern. If business is as usual, then the ads with sex and uncreative messages will continue.
We're with you, consumers, and we want the image of AdLand to change as well. But consumers have to show that they truly want a change. Go do something.
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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