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Channel 4: Purpose-driven ads resonate most with young viewers

New research finds that young people are particularly receptive to ads with a message

Brands which engage with important issues through purpose-driven advertising are able to build a stronger connection with young customers, according to new research from Channel 4’s 4 Sales.

The research was commissioned to coincide with “PL4Y presents…” the first in a new series of events which bring together key influencers from across the ad industry to debate topical issues.

Most respondents (55 per cent) believe that brands should be a force for good in the world, rather than just selling products and services (45 per cent) and young people are particularly receptive to ads with a message.

60 per cent of 16 to 24 year olds claim to notice ads more if they deal with important issues, compared to 55 per cent of 35 to 44 year olds and just 37 per cent of those aged 45+.

The research found that young people also have a high regard for products and services that feel ethical. Those aged 16 to 34 are 56 per cent more likely to equate ethical products with better quality than those aged 35+. Most young people also claim that they’re willing to pay more for ethical products (56 per cent of 16 to 34 year olds compared to 44 per cent of 35+).

A perceived lack of ethics has a negative impact on impressions of a brand with 41 per cent of young people claiming to have boycotted a brand because they didn’t agree with what it stood for, compared to 33 per cent of those aged 35+.

Among all audiences, Channel 4 was felt to be the commercial channel most strongly championing social issues (49 per cent Channel 4, 36 per cent ITV, 20 per cent Channel 5), while 51 per cent also believe Channel 4 is more ‘edgy and brave’ than other TV channels.

Jonathan Lewis, head of digital and partnership innovation, Channel 4, said: “This research shows that the market for purpose-driven ads is far from saturated. But people have very clear expectations about what they want from brands operating in this space: they need to be genuine in their messaging, stay relevant to their industries and create resonant ads that cut through.”