Purpose: This paper aims to provide insight into the relationship between religiousness, trust in advertising and advertisement avoidance.
Design/methodology/approach: A survey of 4,984 participants from the USA, the UK, Germany, Spain and France was conducted.
Findings: This paper shows that religiousness is a (negative) predictor of avoidance of advertisements in traditional and digital media and that advertisement trustworthiness mediates this effect. Higher perceived trustworthiness of advertising among the more religious people leads to less advertisement avoidance. Less religious people trust advertising less and, consequently, show higher advertisement avoidance. The role of religiousness is explained by a positive relationship between religiousness and perceived advertisement trustworthiness because of religious people’s general conformity to authority and because of religion’s emphasis on the good of fellow human beings.
Research limitations/implications: One limitation is that response bias may have occurred because of the self-reported data on advertisement avoidance in different media. Another limitation is that though the use of existing panels has advantages, it also has disadvantages. Two such disadvantages of the sampling procedure are the considerable non-responses and the impossibility of a non-response analysis for our study. Although all the respondents had Internet access and responded fairly quickly to the survey, we do not know whether they are special in any systematic way.
Practical implications: The implication of the current paper is that advertisers might also benefit from more closely examining religion and religiousness as a key variable for segmentation. Religiousness constitutes a relatively stable society grouping, and media vehicles also are available for targeting people with different religions within societies (e.g. Websites, social media, magazines, television channels).
Originality/value: This paper is the first to examine the relationship between religiousness, trust in advertising and advertisement avoidance from an international perspective. This is important because religiousness may have an impact on marketing communication efforts.
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