The Public’s Perception of the Advertising and PR Industry Has Plummeted to a New Low

October 21, 2022

The public’s perception of the advertising and public relations (PR) industry has never been stellar, but it has reached new depths this year, according to the latest annual survey results from Gallup. Just 26% have an overall view of the industry that is either very (5%) or somewhat (21%) positive, the lowest share recorded in any of the surveys conducted annually since 2001.

Indeed, this year’s 26% represents a large 8% point decrease from the 34% with a positive overall view of the industry last year. That 8% point dip is the third-largest of the 25 industries measured, behind only real estate (-9% points) and grocery (-14% points), both of which maintain higher positive perceptions than advertising and PR.

The industry’s previous low was in 2008 (27%), which remains the only other time this century that positive perception of the advertising and PR sector has dipped below the 30% mark. The high-water mark was in 2003, when 41% of US adults had an overall positive view of the industry.

Moreover, the percentage of adults with an overall negative view of the industry has grown to 42% this year, up from 36% last year. This again is the highest figure in any of the annual surveys conducted since 2001, and is the first time negative views have been held by more than 40% of the US adult population.

The resulting net positive score this year, which subtracts the percentage with a negative view from those with a positive view, is far underwater, at a disappointing -16% points (once again, its worst result in any survey). By comparison, last year the net positive rating stood at -2.

The -16% point result also makes advertising and PR the 6th-most disliked industry of the 25 measured, trailing only electric and gas utilities (-17% points), the legal field (-17% points), the pharmaceutical industry (-33% points), the federal government (-33% points), and the oil and gas industry (-40% points).

By contrast, the industries with the highest net positive ratings are the restaurant industry (+45), farming and agriculture (+43), the computer industry (+35), and the retail industry (+26).

For more, check out the full survey results here.

About the Data: The 2022 results are based on an August survey of 1,006 US adults (18+).

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