South Africa: Survey Scores TV ads Low On Credibility


The credibility of television advertising has come under criticism following a recent survey which dismissed it as not truthful. It was however revealed that ads on the medium are the most entertaining.

The survey, which was carried out by consumer insights company, Pondering Panda, polled the opinion of 1924 respondents among South African Youth between age 15 and 34, on television advertising.

According to the report, the survey said young South Africans find television ads entertaining, but don't see them as necessarily showcasing products and brands honestly.

Breakdown of the report from the survey revealed that while 71 per cent said they enjoyed watching TV ads, almost two-thirds (64 per cent) believed most ads were not truthful about what was being advertised. But 32 per cent of the youth believed that adverts on the medium were honest in what they portrayed.

On the attitude of viewers to the satisfaction derived from such ad, the survey revealed that black respondents were more than other race in accepting that they enjoyed watching TV ads. "Eighty per cent of blacks felt this way, compared to 71 per cent of coloureds, 50 per cent of whites, and 47 per cent of Indians. There were no significant differences according to age or gender," Pondering Panda affirmed quoting the respondent as saying, "we don't believe much of what you say, but we don't want you banned".

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

The survey also found that, given a choice, "SA youth would rather watch TV with ads than having advertising banned. 56 per cent said they liked ads, and would keep them as part of their television experience, given a choice. In contrast, 35 per cent 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. 69 per cent of blacks said they would prefer to retain ads on television, compared to 50 per cent of coloureds, 31per cent of Indians, and only 28 per cent of whites. Too many campaigns that are poorly branded", the respondent told Pondering Panda.

The co-founder of Pondering Panda, Butch Rice, said: "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. 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 whom it was for. Worse, they also often think it was for a competitor."

Interviews were carried out on cell phones between December 11 and 12, 2012, across South Africa. Results were weighted to be nationally representative.

Pondering Panda is market research and consumer Insights Company that specialises in mobile research. It has completed over 2 million interviews in its first year of operation. Its commercial success is attributed to the fact that interviews are conducted via cell phones. People have their phones with them at all times, ensuring a high response rate.

Because respondents feel relatively anonymous, their answers are more candid than they would be in traditional interviews conducted by a fieldworker. As all information is input digitally, a rapid assembly and analysis of the data can be completed, allowing for a fast turnaround.