That troublesome finding comes from a survey the American Advertising Federation unveiled last week at its annual conference in Washington.
According to the survey of 1,836 executives conducted in January by Erdos & Morgan, just 43% believe advertising's importance will accelerate, although seven in 10 executives believe the pace of change is quickening.
Those respondents with ad budgets topping $10 million are somewhat more supportive of advertising, with 54% believing its role will become more critical.
"Top management has expressed an emphatic need to build and cement relationships, yet advertising is not registering as strongly as it should," said Wally Snyder, AAF president-CEO.
The survey said 87% of the executives do believe advertising is a long-term investment, and 83% say it provides a competitive edge.
Seventy-four percent of those surveyed said they need to do more brand-building.
The executives said they will allocate more money to advertising in the future, but mostly to targeted vehicles. They said Internet budgets will rise 39% during the next five years, with an increase of 36% for direct mail, 34% for sales promotion, 25% for magazines and 24% for newspapers.
AAF is planning a new ad campaign on behalf of advertising, with the tagline: "Advertising: A new brand of business." Carmichael Lynch, Minneapolis, will handle the ads aimed at corporate CEOs.
In a speech at the conference, White House Office of National Drug Control Director Barry McCaffrey praised AAF for helping cull requests for local public service time coming out of his anti-drug office.
LOCAL ADCLUBS CULL REQUESTS
The anti-drug office asks the media to provide a free public service message for every ad it buys, and local-market AAF adclubs review requests from local groups to air messages in the free PSA slots.
"Before you were all producing ads that were seen at 2 a.m. by people with drinking problems," Mr. McCaffrey said to attendees. "Now your ads are going to be seen" during times and programs seen by a larger audience, he said. "Your