Thought Leadership

McCann Worldgroup UK

Truth About Britain

Izzy Ashton

Assistant Editor of BITE


McCann - Truth About Britain

McCann Worldgroup UK and McCann Truth Central have been monitoring the mood of the nation since 2007 and in celebration of their on-going research initiative, Truth About Britain, hosted an evening of insights and discussions to present their findings to an audience of the UK’s top brands on 30 January.

The study has been designed to track and analyse the British consumers’ mood against a global background of uncertainty, mistrust and isolationism. McCann Worldgroup UK and McCann Truth Central uncovered that today’s Britons demonstrate unexpected confidence in their nation and belief in the potential of foundational institutions, such as the NHS and Armed Forces, and major brands for stability, truth, and leadership. 

The event featured remarks from Mark Lund, CEO, McCann Worldgroup UK and Harris Diamond, CEO, McCann Worldgroup on the value of MWG UK’s on-going partnership with Truth Central to create a study for brands to better understand how they can play a meaningful role in the lives of the British public.

During a brief overview of the study, Rodney Collins, Regional Director EMEA, McCann Truth Central navigated a packed house of chief marketers and business leaders from across the country, through the political and social insights unearthed in Truth About Britain.

A panel of experts, moderated by Alex Lubar, CEO, McCann London, led the evening's discussion on the key areas from the research including Britain's political role in the broader world and the growing demand by consumers for brands that have better understanding of ordinary people. 53% of people want a brand that understands their “frustrations” whilst 53% of Brits hope “a new political system is invented within their lifetime”.

While the data revealed a widespread scorn for Britain’s political class and social system, 69% also felt that despite its faults, Britain is still a great country to live in, the highest number since MWG UK and Truth Central began asking this question in 2010. Although much has changed in the past decade, there are deeper stories that transcend the momentous events of late such as Brexit, and Truth About Britain unearths these stories to provide an invaluable toolkit for brands to navigate the dynamic landscape of today’s Britain.


Alex Lubar, CEO, McCann London (Moderator)

Joan Hoey, Regional Director, Europe at The Economist - Intelligence Unit

Matt Tee, CEO of Independent Press Standards Organisation

Karen Crum, Head of Planning at McCann London

Key take outs:

  • Although the majority of McCann Truth Central’s national respondents believe that the 1950s was when Britain was at its most moral, the Truth about Britain event highlighted the perception that the best is yet to come, whether for a nation that will redefine its role on the global stage, for institutions and companies that must commit to truth and trust, or for a people who are determined to wrest greater control of their destinies. Indeed, Britain has risen several notches on the Economist’s Democracy Index.
  • Uncertainty has been defined as the mood of the nation for the last decade (2007 – 2017) according to McCann research, a period ranging from the global economic downturn to Brexit. Given this climate, it should come as no surprise that the brands and institutions that provide stability, reliability and permanence are the most admired. Brands like John Lewis, institutions like the NHS, and individuals like doctors provide the clearest example of who Britain looks to as the benchmark and anchor in uncertain times. For all others, simply ask yourself this question: are we doing anything to reassure, or are our efforts fuelling this state of uncertainty?
  • Given that half the national sample aspire to a reinvention of the political system (rising to 60% in the North East), the decline in trust in the truthfulness of politicians and the sense that government has too much control over everyday life, the importance of freedom as a defining national value can’t be underestimated. And that a reinvented political system might look something like Australia, Canada, or Sweden, where the robust nature of their democracies and the quality of their political and civil culture, and strong social safety nets, leads to the perception of exceptional standards.


    Jessica Bayat, Communications Director, UK & Europe, McCann,

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