Radio Advertising Ranks 2nd as the Most Truthful Medium

Radio advertising ranks second on a list of “most truthful” advertising sources, according to a new report commissioned by Advertising Standards Canada.

When it comes to meeting standards for acceptability and truthfulness, Canadians have the most confidence in traditional media – newspapers most of all, and far more than online ads. The majority said TV, radio and print ads are very or somewhat truthful – but just 47% said the same for online ads.

Advertising Media Most Truthful:
Newspapers: 74%
Out-of-home (billboards, etc): 69%
Radio: 69%
Magazines: 65%
TV: 64%
Online: 47%

“Online faces a higher degree of scepticism among consumers,” noted David Herle of the Gandalf Group, presenting the findings to an audience of media and advertising executives in Toronto last week.

The vast majority (79%) of Canadians surveyed said advertising provides them with value. Most Canadians (63%) said advertising is somewhat or very helpful to their consumer decision making versus 80% of Americans. Most Canadians (73%) said they have a favourable impression of advertising. A majority of Canadians (57%) said most advertising they encounter meets acceptable standards of truthfulness and accuracy and is not offensive. Only 19% said advertising provides no value.

When it comes to Politician advertising, almost half of all Canadian do not like attack ads and are turned off by them. Specifically, 48% of Canadians say politicians should never criticize their opponents in advertising and should only promote themselves.

But advertising deemed unacceptable has serious consequences: 89% of Canadians will stop buying from a company if its ads are unacceptable, according to the survey.

When consumers find advertising unacceptable, the most cited reason is misleading advertising (32%). The next-highest reason was advertising deemed offensive in some way, including sexist, sensational, degrading, vulgar, or stereotypical (22%).

What can we learn from this study?

  1. Canadians tend to look at advertising differently from Americans, less as entertainment and more impactful on societal values.
  2. Standards are therefore more important in the Canadian context.
  3. Truth and accuracy are important underpinnings.
  4. Important for standards and important to favourability of the industry.
  5. 5. Significantly, important to the bottom line with an impact on consumer loyalty.

 The Gandalf Group undertook the study for ASC, polling 1,378 Canadians and 800 Americans for attitudes towards advertising. Advertising Standards Canada is the industry body that maintains the Canadian Code of Advertising Standards. The full press release on the new study, entitled Canadian Perspectives on Advertising, can be found here.