In today's surreal world of fake news, the findings in this latest report from McCann Truth Central, a thought leadership unit within the agency, aren't really that surprising. After all, a quick perusal of Facebook (which, let's be honest, IS the web these days) yields a colorful panoply of "that's fake news" accusations. While consumers have always been skittish about what advertisers tell them, that skittishness has, likely, been exacerbated by apparent refusal of everyone to believe anything that doesn't line up with their preconceived notions of life.
The study, which surveyed 1,000 adult Americans, found 42% believe brands are less truthful than they were 20 years ago.
Of the findings, McCann North America Chief Strategy Officer Steve Zaroff said, "America's increasingly pervasive polarization is creating a new kind of challenge for brand marketers. They have to decide how much to align with values favored or opposed by one constituency or another. But what we found in our Truth Central study is that there are also areas of common ground with regard to positively viewed values and institutions."
Adding her thoughts on the finding, 4A's President Nancy Hill said, "To be effective, advertising needs to be in tune culturally with the mood and trends of the country. This research shows how critical it is for advertisers to get out and speak to consumers; data is not enough on its own. While there is a divide, which we are all aware of, there are also shared viewpoints that can be uncovered and leveraged to reach target audiences."
The study did find there to be trust in American institutions like NASA, the US Army, the CDC, Amazon, Walmart and Google along with Americanisms like baseball, hamburgers, French fries, Coke, the bald eagle and jazz.