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More than one-third of Americans will not purchase a brand because of distasteful advertising, according to a new Adweek Media/Harris Poll.

Advertising Can Prevent Purchases
Thirty-five percent of respondents said they have chosen not to purchase a certain brand because they found the advertisements distasteful. Another 22% said they have not done so but have thought about doing it, and 43% said they have never done so.

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In addition, 28% of respondents said they have chosen not to purchase a brand because they didn’t like the spokesperson being used, with 22% having thought of doing so and 50% having never done so. Twenty-seven percent of respondents said they chose not to purchase a brand because they did not like a program or event sponsored by it, with 20% having thought of doing so and 52% having never done so.

In all three cases of respondents choosing not to purchase a brand because of advertising, spokesperson or sponsorship, a majority have made that decision in the last year as opposed to more than a year ago.

Gender, Age Make Varying Differences
The gender and age of a consumer can have a varying impact on whether they will choose not to buy a brand due to distaste for some part of its promotional strategy. Slightly more women (36%) have chosen not to purchase a brand due to its advertising than men (35%). However, more men have chosen not to purchase due to its spokesperson (32%) than women (25%). More men have also chosen not to purchase a product due to a program or event sponsored by it (29%) than women (22%).

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Interestingly, respondents aged 18-34 generally had similar rates of choosing not to buy a brand due to distaste for its promotion as respondents aged 55 and up, with middle-aged respondents having lower levels of severe promotional distaste. Thirty-seven percent of both respondents aged 18-34 and 55-plus have chosen not to purchase a brand due to its advertising, compared to 34% of respondents aged 35-44 and 32% of respondents aged 45-54.

Thirty percent of respondents aged 55-plus have chosen not to purchase a brand due to its spokesperson, followed closely by 29% of respondents aged 18-34 and smaller percentages of respondents in the middle two age groups. The one exception to this pattern was with sponsorship issues: 26% of all age groups have chosen not to buy a brand due to a program or event sponsored by it except 55-plus (30%).

College Grads, Wealthy More Easily Offended
College graduates and respondents earning more than $75,000 a year had the highest levels of choosing not to purchase a brand due to some part of its promotional strategy. Forty-three percent of college graduates have chosen not to purchase a brand due to distasteful advertising, compared to 37% of respondents with some college and 29% with a high school degree or less.

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In addition, 33% of college graduates have chosen not to purchase a brand because of the spokesperson, compared to 31% of respondents with some college and 23% of respondents with a high school degree or less. And 33% of college graduates have chosen not to purchase a brand because of a sponsorship issue, compared to 27% of respondents with some college and 24% of respondents with a high school degree or less.

Americans Trust Soft Drink Advertising
Brands seeking to avoid losing customers due to distaste with their advertising may want to examine the promotional strategies of the soft drink industry. Among five major industries, Americans trust soft drink advertising the most, according to another recent Harris Poll.

Thirty-four percent of respondents 18 and up said soft drink advertising was the most trustworthy, while the next-most trusted industry, fast food, only had its advertisements rated most trustworthy by 22% of all respondents 18 and up. Pharmaceutical companies came in third place (18%), auto companies came in fourth place (14%), and financial services companies came in last (13%).

About the Survey: This Adweek Media/Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States February 2-4, 2010 among 2,194 adults (aged 18 and up). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Where appropriate, this data were also weighted to reflect the composition of the adult online population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

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