US/UK: Are advertisements with moral messages connecting with consumers?
November 28th, 2022, Janice Fernandes

US/UK: Are advertisements with moral messages connecting with consumers?

A recent YouGov survey revealed that inflation has been dampening festive spending this year. Holiday advertisements reflect this mood with brands being mindful of the situation which consumers face. In a complete contrast from last year’s big budget spend, John Lewis focuses on family and community values. And the brand is not alone. More and more companies on both sides of the pond are telling intimate stories with moral messages at their core. But do consumers share the brand enthusiasm about such messaging?

We asked consumers in the United States and Great Britain whether they like when companies have a moral message in their advertisements. Latest data from YouGov Profiles reveals that nearly six in ten Americans agree with the statement (58%). And while Britons (47%) are also mostly likely to agree, support is lower than among Americans.

When we look at this data by age, younger consumers indicate they are more tuned into brands with moral messages. In the US, nearly two-thirds of 18-24-year-olds (63%) agree with the statement while over 55s are less likely (53%) to agree. In Britain, older consumers are nearly half as likely as younger consumers to agree with the statement – 63% of 18-24-year-olds vs. 37% of those 55+.

How might this translate to their shopping behaviors? Among consumers who like it when brands support a social cause through advertisements, more than half of Americans (52%) say advertising helps them choose what to buy. In comparison, purchasing decisions of only around a third of Americans (31%) who don’t like it when companies have a moral message are influenced by ads, suggesting that holiday advertisers might be on the right track this year.

On the other hand, Britons are slightly less likely to be influenced by ads even if they like the social message featured (45% disagree and 41% agree). That figure is nearly halved among Brits who don’t like social messages in ads (23%).

Once again age is an influencing factor in both markets, with younger consumers more likely to be influenced by ads. However, while the same number of British men and women share a similar opinion (41% each), American men (57%) are more likely than women (48%) to have their purchasing decisions influenced by advertisements.

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Methodology: YouGov Profiles is based on continuously collected data and rolling surveys, rather than from a single limited questionnaire. Profiles data for US and Great Britain is nationally representative and weighted by age, gender, education, region, and race. Learn more about Profiles.