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Insights from the industry

It’s All About Trust

It’s All About Trust

Posted on March 15, 2019 by Giulia Zen

Associating with a trustworthy Brand

During the annual Advertising Association LEAD Conference that took place on 30th January 2019, a paper was published revealing an alarming statistic. The public trust in advertising was at an all-time low of 25% during December 2018.

Does this really come as a surprise? A separate report from Advertisings think tank, Credos, shows that the appeal of consuming advertisement dropped from 35% in 2017. The decline has been consistently negative with it originally being 48% in 1992. Comments made by consumers defined advertising as “intrusive”, “manipulative”, “repetitive” and “irrelevant” and many feel “bombarded” by the overwhelming number of adverts they encounter daily through-out many platforms.

Credos’ report also specifies that no one channel of advertisement is responsible for the decline in the favourability of the public’s trust. Overall, the volume of digital platforms associated in the distribution of ads are all accountable, in some way or another.

We see that in recent studies that digital platforms are seen as deceptive in comparison to traditional forms of advertisement. In 2015 Nielson’s global trust advertisement survey highlighted tv as the most trustworthy source of advertisement with over 63% of people perceiving it positively, similarly, newspapers received on average 60% in favourability of trust.

Specifically, digitally native younger generations seem to have developed a strong resistance to online advertisements. According to a global research by Kantar Millward Brown, among Generation Z less than 25% perceive online advertisements as positive, and they tend to skip advertisements quite fast or to ignore them (80% of the surveyed). At the same time, they heavily consume online content on both mobile and desktop, with a preference for the first one. Similarly, online advertising formats are among the less favoured by Generation Y, whose online media consumption is increasing.

Does this mean that advertising, in particular online, is becoming less useful for brands and businesses? Not quite, and certainly not now. As marketers, it is important to understand how to connect with digitally-savvy generations on their preferred platforms, however addressing the increasing scepticism they hold towards advertisements on digital channels. Credos’ survey highlights that strong opinions against advertising are still relatively rare. People tend more to consider it as “a good thing with downsides”. Not everything is lost then, but there is an urge for brands and advertisers to rebuild consumers’ trust.

But where to start? It was highlighted that, despite the negativity surrounding the opinions about advertisements, people tend to become more favourable towards them, if the advertisements’ content is in line with their interests. The solution seems simple: provide audiences with meaningful contents, in the moment they need them, on the platform they prefer. But at the same time, brands must be sure that their contents are received favourably by the public. How?

Connection is the key. When two brands are related, in some way, and presented together to the audience, consumers tend to make connections between them, and their opinion on one could be influenced by the second one. In the case of online display, for example, audiences might evaluate a brand more favourably if it advertises on one website rather than another.

Let’s consider for example, a brand that decides to advertise on Consumers perceived it as one of the best websites that brands could partner with for transmitting a perception of trust. Readers of defines it as “trustworthy”, “reliable” and “Inspiring”. If a consumer sees an ad on, it is likely to extend those qualities to the brand that appears on it. They know that a website such as would accept only equally trustworthy and reliable advertisers to partner with it. In this way, brands maximise their chances of their content to be delivered to the right audience, in the right moment, simultaneously decreasing the possibility of it being perceived as irrelevant and intrusive.

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