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Attitudes to Advertising in Ireland

Posted By James Wilson, Mintel, Tuesday 12 September 2017

attitudes to advertising

Mintel’s latest Attitudes to Advertising, Ireland 2017 Report examines the advertising industry in Northern Ireland (NI) and the Republic of Ireland (RoI). 

The report highlights that Irish consumers are increasingly taking steps to avoid commercial content, while they lack belief that advertising has a strong impact on them. However, with consumers paying attention to humorous and informative advertising, there is scope for brands to reach them effectively and gain their attention, boosting recall and purchase intention. In this article James Wilson, Research Analyst at Mintel, discusses consumers’ perceptions of current advertising platforms. 

Social media the most effective online advertising channel

Social networks are an effective way to reach consumers, with around a third of consumers in both NI and RoI agreeing that advertising on social network news feeds is effective in gaining their attention. In comparison, advertisements on internet services such as video streaming channels, ads on search engines and banners on webpages are considered less engaging. However, usage of social network platforms amongst younger audiences is fragmenting towards smaller sites and more interest-oriented groups. As such, brands will need to include more channels into their social media activity and segment younger consumers by their interests to ensure that the right content is being delivered to the right audience on the right platform. This will help brands to contribute to the conversations younger consumers are having and thus boost their relevance among these key users of social networks.

TV the most effective offline advertising channel

TV remains the most powerful medium for brands looking to get their message out, as stated by 62% of NI and 57% of RoI consumers who consider it effective. However, as TV viewing habits change and become more fragmented, brands will need to embrace multi-device viewers and develop viewing profiles of consumers who are accessing content in different ways to ensure that they maintain the effectiveness of this channel. 

Outdoor billboards better at reaching urban consumers

Billboards and outdoor posters are effective in reaching urban consumers. Indeed, 40% of consumers from the city of Belfast stated that this type of advertising caught their attention, compared to an average of 30% in NI overall. Identifying high-footfall areas within cities for an outdoor campaign will help advertisers to boost the exposure and awareness of their brands. Furthermore, with usage of public transport increasing in NI and RoI, and set to continue growing in the coming years, the out-of-home sector offers brands significant potential. Digitising more advertising panels at bus and train stations would help brands to deliver a more interactive experience for the growing number of public transport users, therefore boosting recall and purchase intention. 

Irish consumers taking steps to avoid advertising

Looking at interaction with advertising, it seems Irish consumers feel overexposed to commercial content due to the increased amount of advertising they receive, particularly online. Indeed, 37% of NI and 38% of RoI consumers have noticed more advertising online compared to 12 months ago. As a consequence, they are increasingly taking steps to avoid commercial content, with more than half of consumers saying they fast forward through television adverts when using catch-up/on-demand services. Moreover, consumers feel misled by advertising, as around four in 10 think products are never as good as commercials make them look. This is particularly the case with online advertising, considered more misleading compared to traditional print and TV channels.

Humorous advertising appeals to consumers

Less than one in 10 NI and RoI consumers think advertising has a strong impact on them. However, Mintel data shows that consumers do pay attention to advertising that makes them laugh and informs them of special offers and discounts. Using humorous advertising that informs consumers will help brands to gain their attention, boosting recall and purchase intention. 

Consumers avoid advertising but understand it keeps services free

Although the majority of Irish consumers understand that advertising is essential to keep some services that are particularly important to them in their daily lives, such as Google and Facebook, free to use, there remains a significant level of negativity among consumers towards commercial content. This likely reflects that consumers feel that there is too much advertising and that it is becoming invasive, intrusive and annoying. 

As such, Irish consumers are reducing their exposure to commercial content by changing TV channels, radio stations and web browsers, fast forwarding through TV ads on catch-up services and not using websites due to high volumes of advertising. However, despite taking steps to avoid advertising, there is currently little appetite among Irish consumers to pay for a premium service to do so.

This does not necessarily mean that consumers accept or are happy with the advertising experience that they receive. Instead, consumers may think that these services do not represent value for money. More clearly demonstrating the benefits (eg fast page load times, greater privacy, exclusive content) of paid-for ad-free services will help providers to boost subscriptions and usage and see fewer consumers using ad blockers to obtain an ad-free experience.


As a research analyst with Mintel, James researches and writes in the retail, technology and leisure sectors for Mintel’s Irish series of reports. His specialist areas include all things digital with a focus on social media and consumer shopping habits. He has featured in radio interviews and national publications such as The Times.

Mintel’s Attitudes to Advertising, Ireland, 2017 report is available to purchase. For more information on this report and how Mintel can help your business, contact Ciara Rafferty, Director Mintel Ireland on +44 (0)28 9024 1849 or

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