September 21, 2009

I am not a crook.

Which occupation do you trust?

Which occupation do you trust?

When I’m at a social gathering, and people ask what I do for a living, I say I’m in advertising. And the standard response is, “Oh, really? Have you done anything I may have seen?” It’s tough knowing how to answer that one. But I’ve never felt ashamed of my chosen profession — until now.

A recent survey by GfK Custom Research revealed we advertising types are not to be trusted. People were asked how much they trust various professionals. As you could probably guess, firemen finished first (95 percent), followed by military personnel (85 percent), doctors (83 percent) and schoolteachers (83 percent). Bankers took the biggest hit in this year’s trustworthy tally, falling from 63 percent last year to 44 percent today.

But even sadder to me is the paltry number of folks who trust advertising people — 24 percent — or marketers — 27 percent. Of little consolation, politicians finished even lower on the trust totem pole at a dismal 21 percent. Casual research indicates that this distrust of advertising practitioners is a continuing trend. So what can we ad people do to polish up our eternally tarnished image? I’m thinking of starting an agency staffed entirely by firemen.