Truth in advertising? Not so, say SA youth | The Media Online

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Truth in advertising? Not so, say SA youth

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A study into how young South Africans respond to television advertising has yielded some fascinating insights – and given brands some food for thought as viewers recall the ad, but are unable to say who it was for.

Research and insights company, Pondering Panda, carried out the interviews via cellphones in December 2012, with results being weighted to be nationally representative.

“Most young South Africans are clearly receptive to television advertising. However, their lack of trust in the honesty of advertising is a challenge to marketers – but it’s not the only one,” says Butch Rice, co-founder of Pondering Panda.

“Our ad testing studies have shown that major brands face significant challenges when it comes to correct brand linkage among young people, when recalling specific ads on television. There are too many campaigns out there that are poorly branded, leading to a serious wastage of advertising budgets, in terms of their effectiveness. Viewers often recall the ad, but can’t say who it was for. Worse, they also often think it was for a competitor.”

Pondering Panda polled the opinion of 1 924 respondents between 15 and 34 on the topic of advertising on television. The survey found that while 71% said they enjoyed watching TV ads, almost two thirds (64%) believed most ads were not truthful about what was being advertised. Only 32% believed adverts were honest in what they portrayed.

On the question of enjoyment, black respondents were more likely than other race groups to say they enjoyed watching TV ads; 80% of blacks felt this way, compared to 71% of coloureds, 50% of whites, and 47% of Indians. There were no significant differences according to age or gender.

The good news is that the survey also found that, given a choice, SA youth would rather watch TV with ads than having advertising banned. 56% said they liked ads, and would keep them as part of their television experience, given a choice. In contrast, 35% said they would eliminate ads entirely from television, if they were able to. Young blacks were significantly more likely than other race groups to want to keep ads on TV with 69% of blacks said they would prefer to retain ads on television, compared to 50% of coloureds, 31% of Indians, and only 28% of whites.

In terms of persuasiveness of advertising, 32% of respondents claimed to buy things quite often as a result of seeing ads. And 55% said that they seldom bought anything as a result of advertising, while 13% of respondents claimed that advertising had no effect whatsoever on their buying habits.