Ad Council: Spouses/Partners Are The Most Trusted Messengers

The Ad Council has released a new benchmark study detailing America’s most trusted messengers and where they have the most impact driving change for social and societal issues.

The study found that, regardless of issue, the most trusted messengers are spouses/partners (72%) close family (66%), doctors (60%), close friends (59%), and scientists (51%).

Local or community leaders are seen as the next most trustworthy: pastors/religious leaders (40%), teachers or school leaders (39%), church members (32%), and local business owners (31%).

The report also stresses that other messengers have influence as well and it delves into different groups such as “Amplifiers,” “Validators” and “Persuaders” that interplay to build awareness, deliver facts and shift behaviors.

Also explored in the report: who’s most trusted across different demographics on major issues like COVID-19, mental health, voting/civic engagement, racial equity & justice, climate change, and addiction.



The report, titled “Who Do We Trust With Our Lives?: The Trusted Messenger Study,” will be updated annually. It was compiled by the Council’s new business arm, the Ad Council Research Institute (ACRI).

“We know from experience that when it comes to inspiring action around social issues, the messenger is just as important as the message itself,” said Lisa Sherman, President and CEO of the Ad Council. 

“This study challenges all purpose-driven marketers to broaden the definition of trusted messengers for unique audiences, ensuring messages reach, inform and inspire action. In addition to the scale and relevance of celebrities, influencers and others with vast networks, these findings reinforce the need to complement their platforms with the most relatable and trusted voices.” 

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