Surekha Ragavan
Jan 29, 2021

Indian consumers think politics and marketing should mix, Chinese do not

EXCLUSIVE RESEARCH: Campaign teamed up with YouGov to find out if respondents in APAC think politics, social issues, sustainability and ethics should intersect with marketing.


Campaign partnered with YouGov to run a global survey about the importance of purpose and sustainability in various markets. A total of 18,929 respondents took part in the survey, with 5,620 of those from select markets in APAC. Here are some highlights from the findings.

In one of the most surprising findings from the survey, respondents from Indonesia and India—the two countries that hold the biggest populations in Southeast Asia and South Asia respectively—say a brand’s environmental impact is a huge factor in driving purchase behaviour.

Australia—which arguably has the most progressive environmental regulations among all the APAC markets surveyed—mostly said that this factor was somewhat important, while a whopping 24% said it was not very important or not important at all. Hong Kong fared poorly here, with only 14% of residents accounting environmental impact as very important factor and 22% saying it’s not very important.


How do you feel about large tech companies like Facebook and Google monopolising the digital economy? Well, Australians seem to be the most cynical about the positive impact of these companies, with 36% saying that their impact was somewhat or very negative. This comes as no surprise given that the Aussie government and regulators are currently in a battle with big tech over a proposed media bargaining code. China, Hong Kong and Singapore appear to be generally positive about the influence of big tech. 


Can you separate politics from marketing? We would argue that you cannot and shouldn’t. And it seems that respondents in India seem to largely agree, with 54% saying that it's very or somewhat appropriate for brands to engage with politics in their marketing. On the other hand, most Chinese respondents—70% to be exact—think mixing politics with marketing is somewhat or very inappropriate.

Generally, across global markets, the sentiment seemed to gravitate towards political marketing being inappropriate.


Next, 61% of respondents from China said it was very or somewhat appropriate for brands to engage with social issues. In Hong Kong, however, 46% say it is somewhat or very inappropriate for social issues and brands to mingle. In Australia, that same figure is at 31%. This strikes us as surprising given that more consumers—including those in Hong Kong and Australia—are demanding more purposeful, thoughtful and inclusive marketing. 


Finally, which market prioritises ethics the most? Well, it’s a relief to see that most markets seem to place this highly on their agenda, with China and Indonesia leading the charge. Once again, respondents in Hong Kong seemed to throw ethics to the wayside, with an alarming 36% saying that ethics and brand marketing shouldn’t mix. 



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