Research and insights by Credos.

Credos studies advertising.

Its role, its effect and its value to UK society and the economy. As advertising’s think-tank, Credos is committed to an honest appraisal of advertising, identifying its shortcomings as well as its positive features, so that the industry can address its findings.

Through Credos, the Advertising Association examine emerging cultural movements and ideas shaping the UK ad industry.

Advertising Pays 6: 

World class talent, world class ads.  

The UK advertising market has a major positive impact on the country’s economy, with London serving as one of the great global centres of the industry. Based on analysis of data from LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network, this report focuses on the people who make UK advertising what it is today.

Media Centre Manchester
Stoats Dook Advertising Pays Scotland_Advertising Association

Advertising Pays Scotland: 

How advertising fuels the Scottish economy.

“Whatever lies in Scotland’s future, we need to be competitive at home and abroad – and advertising is at the heart of effective competition. This report shows how advertising is part of our economic infrastructure – helping all companies reach customers, create return on investment and grow. As we look to build a strong, sustainable economy we need to encourage businesses to access the power of great communications.”

– Brian Coane, former Chairman of IPA Scotland.

In 2015, Scotland spent £1.7 billion on advertising – but the total contribution of that spend to the Scottish economy is valued at £8.8 billion, thanks to the far-reaching economic impact of advertising activities in Scotland.

Advertising Pays Scotland quantifies and explains advertising’s positive impact on Scotland.

This report focuses on the way male models are portrayed in advertising and the media – particularly, whether boys are aware of digitally enhanced imagery and whether this impacts their behaviour.

We surveyed 1,005 boys from primary and secondary schools around the country to explore their attitudes towards advertising and body image, and conducted focus groups of boys aged 8 to 18 and with teachers, youth leaders and parents to understand the roots, effects and solutions to boys body confidence.

Picture of Health? is the latest in a series of reports on representation in advertising by Credos, and follows 2011’s Pretty as a Picture (on the effect of airbrushing in ads on women and young girls) and The Whole Picture? on ethnic diversity in advertising.

Picture of health Credos, Advertising Association

Volvo Life Paint (Grey London)

Advertising Pays 4:

Export value and global impact.

“…The UK is the most important centre for advertising in Europe, and vies with the USA for global industry leadership…  According to this report, it all adds up to exports worth £4.1 billion per year – a significant contribution to our economic growth.”

– Sajid Javid MP, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills and President of the Board of Trade

As the UK attracts foreign earnings, we enjoy a constant injection of foreign talent, eager to take advantage of the first-class experience and training on offer. Training qualifications offered by our respected trade organisations support this – and are another export success themselves.

Elsewhere, our public awareness campaigns attract widespread international attention. And the UK’s self-regulatory system – which underpins the vibrancy of our domestic output – has served as a model for other countries, which replicate aspects of its structure and turn to the Advertising Standards Authority for guidance and advice as they develop their own systems.

What drives UK advertising’s global reputation for excellence? Advertising Pays 4 seeks to quantify and explain UK advertising’s export contribution.

Advertising Pays 3: 

The value of advertising to the UK's culture, media and sport. 

Advertising’s primary role in society is economic. It helps to fuel growth, competition and innovation, while enabling firms to bring people better, more affordable products and services.

Its £100 billion contribution to the UK economy, as analysed in Deloitte’s first report for the Advertising Association, comprises the many ways in which UK citizens and and companies benefit economically from advertising activity.

But there’s another way in which advertising, in its broadest sense, enhances the quality of people’s lives. It funds the media, culture and sport people love and enjoy. Without the funding that advertising provides, much of what people value could face a significant decline in quality; much else would require fees and charges beyond what millions would be able to pay. Some things might even become unviable in their current form.

This report examines the impact of advertising on the media, and on the activities that people enjoy in their everyday lives. We estimate the “individual value” that this amounts to – the value, translated into monetary terms, of the perceived benefits people get from using services that are free or subsidised by advertising. We focus on television, radio, online services, newspapers and magazines, cinema and the arts, and sport.

The survey, of 1000 people, clearly shows that while people greatly value access to these services, they are not able (or willing, when set against their other financial constraints) to meet the full costs themselves.

The Advertising Association estimates that the gap between what people are willing to pay and the true cost of the advertising-funded media they receive is almost £5 billion, which is equal to £187 per household per year.

Advertising Pays 3: The value of advertising to the UK's culture, media and sport.

The diversity and size of the UK’s population is growing. Naturally, an increasing number of advertisements reflect this, and while there are those who think advertising should be required to reflect the UK’s ethnic mix more accurately, we think that advertisers should want to. It’s not only good for people, it’s good for business.

“The Whole Picture is the advertising industry’s response to changes in the ethnic profile of the UK. In this report we’ve attempted to reflect the views of a diverse population and give guidance to the industry on how best to reflect – and engage with – people from different backgrounds”

– Karen Fraser, Director, Credos.

But reflecting diversity in an accurate and meaningful way can be a challenge. This research, by advertising’s think tank Credos, hopes to shine a light on how advertisers can do just that. It asked people from different ethnic backgrounds what they currently think of diversity in UK advertising, and how we can work to improve it.

The report unpacks findings across how Britain is changing, how people define identity, diversity in public life, why brands should care, reflections on UK advertising today, and how to talk about diversity. And you can read it all below.

The whole picture: How advertising portrays a diverse Britain.
Advertising Pays 2: How advertising can unlock UK growth potential.

Advertising Pays 2: 

How advertising can unlock UK growth potential. 

Andy Duncan, CEO of Camelot UK Lotteries Limited and Advertising Association President:

“When Deloitte’s Advertising Pays report launched in January 2013, for most, the economic game remained one of survival. What a difference twelve months makes. Confidence is returning. Growth is back on the agenda. So this sequel – Advertising Pays 2: How advertising can unlock UK growth potential – could not be better timed. It asks not how advertising underpins GDP, but where the opportunities to create growth lie and, critically, how to grab them.”

It finds that UK SMEs – the engine room of our economy – are significantly underweight in their use of advertising and marketing, and explains why that is stopping a sector full of talent and innovation from maximising its potential to create revenues, jobs and growth. What is the size of the prize? Consider this. If smaller businesses could raise their export performance to just the EU average, it would be worth over £40 billion to the UK economy. Great advertising and strong brands will make that sort of export success more likely. That is why I hope this report will inspire not only those running SMEs, but policy-makers and everyone in agencies, brands and media to reconsider their role in allowing advertising’s power to unlock growth in UK businesses.

The Advertising Association wants to see an environment in which businesses can maximise their returns on UK advertising investment. This report teaches us to apply that principle to every business, no matter what its size. If we do, the economic game really can change.

Advertising Pays 2: How advertising can unlock UK growth potential, argues that sustained economic recovery will depend on the health of our SMEs – in particular those medium-sized businesses most poised for growth.

Advertising Pays:

Advertising Pays: How advertising fuels the UK economy.

Businesses that advertise benefit.  And UK plc benefits with them.

But it doesn’t end there.  There are the agency services they use and the businesses they advertise with.  The TV airtime and cinema screens.  The pages in newspapers and magazines.  The space on billboards and in social media.  The presence in search.  A pound spent on advertising can support all of these.

And advertising is at the heart of the digital economy – funding the vast majority of content and services, supporting on-line consumer research and boosting e-commerce.

In fact, Deloitte found that when a pound is spent on advertising, it adds six to UK GDP.  That meant a £100 billion boost to GDP in 2011 and over 550,000 high quality jobs.

It’s all in Advertising Pays. 

Channel Four Headquarters, London, UK
Pretty as a Picture Advertising Association

Pretty as a Picture

What do young women in the UK really think of airbrushing? And what is its impact?

Following an increasing number of calls for changes to the way adverts represent models, we decided to find out what the consumers themselves think.

For this report we interviewed young women aged 10-18, and separately their mums, which was complemented by a survey of 1000 young women aged 10-21. These conversations gave us new insight – young women have a strong awareness of what ‘airbrushing’ means and its prevalence in advertising. Girls still place importance on appearance. But education about airbrushing helps girls interpret and decode the images they see in ads. What is more, they tend to favour more natural images in advertising, and trust brands that heavily airbrush less.

This report is injecting some real world relevance to airbrushing conversations between industry, opinion makers, and politicians. The ad industry is facing this challenge head on. A responsible approach to airbrushing and increased diversity in advertising is needed.

Media Smart is a not-for-profit company that creates free educational materials for schools and youth organisations, for teachers, parents and guardians, to help young people think critically about the advertising they come across in their daily lives.

Our materials use real and current examples of advertising that we’re all familiar with to help teach core media literacy skills, and the organisation is funded by the UK advertising industry.

Media Smart and First News have come together to create the Boys’ Biggest Conversation – a campaign to encourage young men, across the UK, to talk about body image and the effect it has on their mental wellbeing.

With the help of TV doctor and youth specialist, Dr Ranj, we’ve made a fascinating short film featuring boys from schools around the country. Have a watch and hear what they have to say on the matter…

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