Public attitudes toward advertising: More favorable than you might think

Sharon Shavitt, Pamela Lowrey, James Haefner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Previous research has suggested that Americans hold a strongly negative view of advertising. Our national telephone survey of over 1,000 adult consumers assessed the general public's current attitudes toward and confidence in advertising. Questions focused on perceptions and evaluations of advertising at a concrete and personalized level. Results indicate a more favorable evaluation of advertising than previous data would suggest. More Americans say that they like rather than dislike advertising overall. They tend to report that they enjoy the advertisements they see, and they tend to find advertising generally informative and useful in guiding their own decision making. Also, although Americans report that they do not generally trust advertising, they tend to feel more confidence in advertising claims when focused on their actual purchase decisions. Males, younger consumers, persons with less education and income, and nonwhites generally report more favorable advertising attitudes than others do. People's feelings of enjoyment and indignity elicited by advertisements played the strongest role in accounting for their overall attitudes toward advertising.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7-22
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Advertising Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Marketing


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