Hard up Brits rail against ‘barrage’ of insensitive ads

angry 1Brands have been warned they face a major consumer backlash over ads which are insensitive to the cost of living crisis, with more than half (51%) of Brits saying they are being inundated with online ads that fail to recognise their money woes and even more (55%) fearful this barrage will intensify in the coming 12 months.

So says a new study from digital advertising platform Smartly, which reveals that marketers’ current approach of casting a wide net is having a negative impact, with consumers set to dismiss brand advertising due to a lack of relevancy in 2023.

Smartly.io’s data highlights this failing strategy, with 76% of consumers revealing they scroll past irrelevant ads, and 18% saying they trust brands less as a result.

At a time of plummeting consumer confidence, brand loyalty is paramount; more than a third (34%) of Brits say they are annoyed by these ads, and 11% say they are upset if an ad targets them with a product or service they cannot afford.

Consumers describe irrelevant ads in various ways, including when a product isn’t relevant to them (43%) or the product isn’t affordable for them (29%). Additionally, 27% of consumers say they do not engage with ads with errors, poor quality images, typos or odd formatting and 19% define an irrelevant ad as one that that is not eye-catching, interesting or creative.

Smartly.io’s study reveals that creative is crucial for ads to keep consumers loyal when they are feeling the pinch financially.

The research quizzed 50 major brands in the UK and Netherlands to gather marketers’ perspective on consumers’ response, and three-quarters (74%) said their creative and media teams could work better together to create more compelling ads that capture consumer attention.

Additionally, more than half (56%) of marketers also see the benefits of aligning their creative and media teams in the current climate.

However, it is clear marketers are under increased pressure and need urgent support, as 70% claim their creative branding assets get rejected, diminished, or lost during the activation of a campaign.

Smartly.io chief innovation officer Oli Marlow Thomas said: “As we head deeper into the recession, the choice for brands is simple. Consumers have less to spend and are fed up with tone-deaf ads – which means it’s more important than ever to engage your audience with something that’s more memorable and thoughtful.

“With one in five consumers saying their trust in a brand declines when they see an irrelevant ad, not only must CMOs be cognisant of this when planning campaigns for the year ahead, but creative and media teams must collaborate more closely on smarter execution in 2023 – developing advertising that appropriately captures consumer attention and makes them feel heard.

“The power of creative advertising, sharing the right message and targeting the right customer cannot be underestimated – and is mission critical for brands’ to focus on heading into the new year.”

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