The Perception of the Advertising and PR Industry Plunged from the Public Eye

The perception of the public regarding the advertising and PR (public relations) industry has never been exceptional. Now, according to the annual survey results from Gallup, it has reached a new level of degradation. This survey was conducted in August and included 1006 US adults aged 18+. Only 26% of the respondents have a favorable view overall about the industry, 21% of them consider that the advertising and PR industry is somewhat optimistic, while only 5% of them think that it is very positive.    

Last year, 34% of the respondents used to think positively about the industry. This year, the survey results show a significant decrease of 8%. This 8% plunge is the third largest among the 25 industries in the survey. The real estate and grocery industry shows -9% points and -14% points, respectively, indicating that both industries are maintaining a better positive perception in the public’s eye compared to the advertising and PR industry.        

The previous low that the advertising and PR industry experienced in 2008 was 27%. It is only the second time, other than this year in the century, that the public’s perception of the industry plunged below 30%. The maximum level the industry has achieved so far was in 2003, when 41% of the respondents, that is, US adults, had a pretty good perception of the industry.

Moreover, when it comes to the percentage of US adults who have an opposing point of view about the advertising and PR industry, it has also increased from last year. This year, 42% of the respondents claimed that they consider the industry harmful, while last year, it was 36%. 42% is the highest figure that has been recorded so far since 2001, and it is the first time that the negative views about the advertising and PR industry have exceeded the 40% of the US adult population.                    

The net positive score, calculated by subtracting the percentage of negative views from positive ones, is quite disappointing this year. It is -16% points, the worst survey result to date. However, last year, the net positive score was -2%, and the lowest net positive score before this one had been recorded in 2003, which was still -14%.

On the other hand, the highest net positive score for the advertising and PR industry was +8% in 2017, with 38% of respondents considering it positive against 31% who considered it negative. 38% positive matched the highest level since 2003 (41%).  

It makes the advertising and PR industry the most disliked one among the other 25 industries in the survey results. The only industries it is sweeping include the following:

  • Legal field (-17% points)
  • Electric and gas utilities (-17% points)
  • Federal government (-33% points)
  • Pharmaceutical (-33% points)
  • Oil and gas industry (-40% points)

On the other hand, the industries which have scored the highest net positive rating include the following:

  • Retail industry (+26% points)
  • Computer industry (+35% points)
  • Farming and agriculture (+43% points)
  • Restaurant industry (+45% points)

Wrapping Up

The public’s perception of an industry tells a lot about whether it has been successful so far or not. Likewise, it is evident from the statistics that the advertising and PR industry is not doing well. There can be several factors behind this. An example could be that the public might have higher expectations from the industry than it did. The poor experiences of the consumers with the advertising can also be the reason. As a result, the industry will fail if it doesn’t make a proper action plan to rise above and change the public’s perception.

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