How MediaCom Edinburgh is helping the ASA rebuild public trust in advertising

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On September 14, 2020, a brand new campaign for the Advertising Standards Authority launched in Scotland to promote its role in helping to keep all ads ‘legal, decent, honest and truthful’.


It has been developed in partnership with the Advertising Association’s Trust Working Group and the ASA to feature creative by The Leith Agency starring famous brands all generously supported by donated media space. All media planning was conducted by a team from MediaCom Edinburgh and public response will be tracked as a test for further campaigns across the rest of the UK as part of the industry’s drive to rebuild public trust in advertising.

The ASA’s new campaign takes famous advertising campaigns for brands and interprets them in a fresh take to remind the public that all ads are fully regulated. Straplines such as Churchill’s ‘OOoh Yes’, Mastercard’s ‘Priceless’ and Marmite’s ‘Love it or hate it’ will feature in print, outdoor and online ads while two TV 10’ and 20’ ads will feature Churchill and Marmite. It will run as a national campaign across TV (STV, C4 Scotland, Sky), Radio (Global & Bauer Media stations), Print (All Scottish National titles), Outdoor (Global Outdoor, JC Decaux, Clear Channel & Ocean), Social (Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, YouTube, TikTok) and Online Display.

To help gauge success pre-campaign research was conducted with over 1,000 people which found the following when it came to baseline awareness of the ASA:

  • 55% of Scottish people have prompted awareness of the ASA
  • 60% of people across the rest of the UK having promoted awareness of the ASA

It also found that the majority trust the ASA with:

  • 54% of Scottish people saying they trustthe ASA
  • 51% of adults across the rest of the UK saying they trust the ASA, with only 6% distrusting them

Figures also showed that trust in the ad industry across the UK (17%) and trust in ads (23%) is lower. Results for Scotland were broadly comparable, with Scottish people being slightly more trusting.

One crucial thing within the research was that trust in the ASA is crucial to driving trust in the ad industry. 22% of people across the UK who trust the ASA trust the ad industry, versus 17% who don’t. In Scotland, a higher 27% of people who trust the ASA trust the ad industry, versus 20% who don’t.

Once the campaign is complete research will be undertaken so that we can measure the impact of the campaign on awareness and trust amongst Scottish people versus the rest of the UK.

"We are delighted to have been asked by the Trust’s working group to plan this campaign. Not only is it an important initiative for the industry, it’s not often you get to work on a multi-media brief with an unlimited budget – well, only in theory, as we had no budget at all! This was a fantastic collaborative effort across the industry but I must give a particular thanks to all of the media owners involved – they have been amazingly supportive from the very beginning and have really gone beyond our expectations in their efforts to help."

David Shearer, Managing Director, MediaCom Edinburgh

“We know that strong awareness of the ASA as an effective regulator of advertising content correlates with public trust in advertising and this campaign demonstrates the breadth of the ASA’s remit across all media. Our thanks must go to the brilliant efforts of the teams at Leith, Mediacom and all our media owner partners. The creative idea harnesses the power of some of Britain’s best-loved campaigns and is a tremendous demonstration of the industry support for our world-class self-regulatory system in the ASA and the creative strengths of the Scottish ad industry. We all have an interest in rebuilding public trust in advertising and I’m sure this campaign will play a key role in moving us forward in the right, positive direction.”

Stephen Woodford, Chief Executive, Advertising Association

“Our new ad campaign will help raise awareness of the ASA’s vital role regulating advertising, crucially including online, by playing around with, and celebrating, famous UK ads. The collaborative approach to our new ad campaign clearly shows the support for effective advertising self-regulation. And so we are immensely grateful to the AA, Leith and Mediacom for helping us to create and plan the campaign pro bono, and to the many media owners and platforms who have so kindly donated space and airtime.”

Guy Parker, Chief Executive, Advertising Standards Authority

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