As insane as this might sound, according to a new nationwide survey of 2,220 U.S. adults surveyed by Harris Interactive between 3/31 and 4/1, two-thirds of Americans (66%) believe ad agencies have at least some responsibility for the current economic crisis because they caused people to buy things they couldn’t afford. In fact, one-third (33%) believe they have complete or a great deal of responsibility.
Print media, such as newspapers and magazines, are deemed to have at least some responsibility by almost three in five Americans (59%) while 56% of Americans say news and other information websites bear at least some responsibility for the economic crisis;
Just over half of Americans say talk shows on TV or radio (55%), cable news programs (54%) and network and local news programs (53%) all have at least some responsibility for the current economic crisis because they caused people to buy things they couldn’t afford.
Friends and family come out a little better – just over half (54%) say they do not have that much responsibility or no responsibility at all for causing Americans to buy things they couldn’t afford.
There is also an age divide over who is to blame for the economic crisis. People aged 55 and older are more likely to blame the five media categories and the advertising agencies. On the flip side, those aged 18-34 are less likely to say these six groups have at least some responsibility. For example, three-quarters of the older age group (75%) say agencies have at least some responsibility compared to three in five (60%) 18-34 year olds. When it comes to print media, two-thirds of those aged 55 and older (67%) say they have at least some responsibility while just half of the younger age group (51%) say print media has at least some responsibility.
RBR/TVBR observation: As ridiculous as the blame game presented here is, it is actually good news for the ad industry. It simply proves advertising works. Think of all of the products and services moved by advertising and your medium. This may actually be a nice item to print out and take with to a client!