Channel 4 commissioned the research to coincide with PL4Y presents, the first in a series of invitation-only events that bring together key influencers from the ad industry to debate topical issues.
Over half of respondents (55%) believe that brands should be a force for good in the world, rather than just selling products and services (45%) and young people are particularly receptive to ads with a message. 60% of 16 to 24 year olds claim to notice ads more if they deal with important issues, compared to 55% of 35 to 44 year olds and just 37% of those aged 45+.
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.”
Young people also have a high regard for products and services that feel ethical. Those aged 16 to 34 are 56% 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% of 16 to 34 year olds compared to 44% of 35+). A perceived lack of ethics has a negative impact on impressions of a brand with 41% of young people claim to have boycotted a brand because they didn’t agree with what it stood for, compared to 33% of those aged 35+.
Among all audiences Channel 4 was felt to be the commercial channel most strongly championing social issues (49% Channel 4, 36% ITV, 20% Channel 5). 51% believe Channel 4 is more edgy and brave than other TV channels.