ISBA president Simon Litherland calls on ad industry to address 'all-time low' in consumer trust

Britvic CEO and ISBA president Simon Litherland has called on the advertising industry to address the "all-time low" in trust among consumers during his first speech in the role.

Speaking earlier today at ISBA's annual conference, Litherland said that the biggest threat to the industry is a lack of trust, driven partly by the rise of social media, and encouraged the audience to shift the focus on to consumers.

"Trust in advertising has slumped to an all-time low among consumers," he said. "Various explanations have been surfaced for this, including privacy concerns with regard to data, the rise of social media, and the relentless barrage of messaging that consumers receive daily. It is therefore critical that we bottom out the key drivers and explore what we can do about it."

To restore trust Litherland suggested the industry carries out an "open and honest" conversation on the value exchange between consumers and advertising.

In regards to media issues ISBA will focus on this year, Litherland stressed that transparency is still high on the agenda, but warned that agencies that are reluctant to give clients financial visibility "greatly hampers this cause".

He continued: “Programmatic has received much airtime and now accounts for around half of all online buys, though its adoption by the legacy media remains slow for now.

"Online brand safety has seen several important initiatives launched including the Infringing Website List, and the Digital Trading Standards Group’s Good Practice Principles. All of these are aimed at making online display safer for brands. The next challenge is to persuade all our members to stipulate adherence to them.”

Touching on the issue of ad fraud Litherland gave the example of one major FMCG company that recently discovered that half of the 1 billion impressions served during a video campaign were not from real viewers.

"All these issues clearly demand our continuing focus and we’ll need all parties to work together to resolve them," he added.

Unilever’s Marc Mathieu, Vodafone’s Daryl Fielding and Barclay’s Sara Bennison will also speak at the conference later today.

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