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Study: Consumer perspectives on advertising

Advertising Standards Canada of Toronto has released its 2013 Consumer Perspectives on Advertising study. The study is intended to gauge the impressions and perceptions of advertising by Canadian consumers.

According to the report, 79% of Canadians accept the role that advertising plays in supporting media content. However, 92% of respondents said they would be likely to stop purchasing a product or service if a company ran advertising they considered untruthful, inaccurate or offensive. Sixty-one percent of respondents said they had done so in the past. Of the respondents, 85% said they are more concerned with misleading advertising, while 15% are more concerned with offensive advertising.

Advertising elements most often cited as misleading include purportedly free products or services that are subject to fees, not including all costs in an advertised price, using digitally-altered images to exaggerate the effects of a product and inaccurate depictions of a product or its function. The offensive elements most often cited include sexual content, stereotypical depictions, violence, sexism, racism, ageism, demeaning portrayals of persons with disabilities, mistreatment of animals, disrespect for the environment and bullying.

"When it comes to advertising, Canadians are clear," said Linda Nagel, president and CEO of Advertising Standards Canada. "Truth is paramount. Advertising that fails to meet consumer expectations can have a direct impact on an advertiser's bottom line. Canadians speak with their wallets, and if an ad is not acceptable to them they will shop elsewhere."

The data for the study comes from an online poll of 1,500 Canadians, designed by The Gandalf Group.

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