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The general public in the US has traditionally had a dim view of advertising practitioners’ honesty and ethical standards. But that doesn’t seem to have fully translated to the advertising and PR industry as a whole, which seems to be met with more neutrality, according to recent survey results from Gallup.

In a survey of 1,024 adults (18+), 35% of adults maintained a positive view of the advertising and public relations industry, compared to 31% with a neutral view and 32% with a negative view. The net positive view, which simply subtracts the percentage with a negative view from those with a positive view, was +3 points.

(By comparison, the net positive view of advertising practitioners’ honesty and ethical standards was -22 in an earlier survey.)

A separate analysis from Gallup found that young adults are more positive in their ratings of the advertising & PR industry than are their older counterparts. The analysis combined responses from surveys conducted in 2017 and 2018 to allow for more robust findings by age group.

The results showed that over the 2-year period, the 18-29 and 30-49 age groups gave the advertising and PR industry a net positive rating of +11. That compares with -3 for the 50-64 age group and +2 for the 65+ bracket.

The difference between the 18-29 and 65+ groups in net positivity was 9 points, which was among the higher image gaps when comparing the youngest and oldest groups.

Younger Adults More Positive Towards the Media, Too

While that image gap was present for the advertising and PR industry, it was especially acute for some other industries.

The biggest gap related to the movie industry, where there was a 36-point difference in the net positive ratings given by 18-29-year-olds (+30) and adults ages 65 and up (-6).

There were also relatively large gaps in views of the TV and radio industry (17-point greater net positivity among 18-29-year-olds) and the computer industry (16-point gap).

Interestingly enough, the second-largest gap in positive views tilted towards youth was for the pharmaceutical industry. As it stands, all age groups have a net negative view of the industry, but 18-29-year-olds (-5) had a closer-to-neutral view than those ages 65 and up (-25).

On the flip side, older adults are considerably more likely to see the banking, oil and gas, farming and agriculture, and restaurant industries in a positive light than are young adults.

And sorry, retailers, who keep focusing on Millennials: the positive rating given to the retail industry by 18-29-year-olds (+24) is a bit lower than that given by the older adults (+31).

The full analysis can be found here.

About the Data: Gallup describes its methodology in part as follows:

“These results are based on combined data from Gallup’s August 2017 and August 2018 Work and Education polls, including approximately 500 interviews in 2017 and 900 interviews in 2018. For results based on the total sample of approximately 1,400 national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting.”

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