A Question of Trust

22nd July 2019

Chris Mundy, Managing Director

This blog was originally posted in our Summer Newsletter on 12th June 2019.

It won’t have escaped your attention that the public has trust issues with the advertising industry. Recent research by Advertising Association think tank Credos identified good, bad and troubling factors. Amongst the bad were being bombarded by ads and excessive personal targeting whilst seen as troubling were intrusiveness, “suspicious techniques” and sensitive sectors. These concerns related to online advertising.

It’s both obvious and easily forgotten that TV and radio advertising is governed by the BCAP code with ads that are precleared by Clearcast and the Radiocentre respectively. Many of the problems highlighted by the AA research don’t, and can’t, happen on TV and Radio. Advertisers can rely on the fact that their ads will appear in a quality environment and consumers can rely on the fact that claims have been verified and rules applied.

Viewers trust brands like ITV, Channel 4 and Sky and don’t distinguish between watching a much-loved show on linear and watching on catch up. They expect to see ads they can trust in Coronation Street, for example, whether they are watching it live or on ITV Hub. That’s why broadcasters apply higher standards than the rules say they need to on their VoD services, seeking advice from Clearcast on whether ads meet the CAP code. Clearcast also issues VoD ads with a content indicator to ensure broadcasters can schedule them appropriately. Viewers and advertisers can rest assured that Broadcaster Video on Demand (BVoD) advertising not only appears in quality content but can be trusted.

On another note, the Cambridge Analytica scandal highlighted how digital platforms are being increasingly used to manipulate public opinion on political matters. The political advertising rules (“Rule 7” of the BCAP code) are there to prevent that happening on TV and radio; messages on behalf of political parties, trying to change public opinions on political matters or placed by (or on behalf of) bodies of a mainly political nature are banned. The same rules prevented Clearcast from approving the Iceland ad (originally made for Greenpeace) for TV and that has led to a debate about whether it is appropriate to have rules that differ between “old” and “new” media and the extent to which regulation of political advertising may have lagged behind as online platforms have developed.

So when you’re considering the value of TV Advertising, make sure you include brand safety in your list of TV’s other benefits: unrivalled reach, cost-effectiveness, impact and a quality environment.