WEDNESDAY 5 OCTOBER 2016
ADVERTISING STANDARDS AUTHORITY UPHOLD TEDDINGTON ACTION GROUP’S COMPLAINT ABOUT FOURTH MISLEADING HEATHROW ADVERT
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld complaints made by members of Teddington Action Group about a Heathrow Airport Ltd advert from July 2016 claiming that “A majority of MPs support Heathrow expansion”.
The decision follows three previous rulings:
- April 2016 in relation to an advert from Heathrow Airport Ltd’s lobby group Back Heathrow which claimed “Most people living in communities near Heathrow Airport support its expansion”;
- September 2015 banning a pro-expansion advert from Heathrow Airport Ltd which claimed “Those around us are behind us”;
- February 2015 in response to Heathrow Airport Ltd’s claims that “UK business trade 20 times as much with countries where there are daily flights than with those with less frequent or no direct service”.
In all four cases, the ASA concluded that the claims were misleading and could not be substantiated. In terms of the latest ruling, the ASA upheld TAG’s complaint that:
- The claim that “A majority of MPs support Heathrow expansion” was misleading as it was based on a survey of only 150 MPs and the geographical make-up of the MPs surveyed meant a bias in the result; and
- The advert did not provide sufficient clarity on where the claim that “Expanding Heathrow will deliver up to £211bn of economic growth and up to 180,000 jobs across Britain” was sourced.
The ASA found that the advert had breached the Advertising Codes. On this occasion – no doubt in an attempt to avoid negative publicity – Heathrow agreed to make the required changes to the advert and the case was informally resolved by the ASA.
Paul McGuinness, spokesman for Teddington Action Group said:
“This latest ruling is yet another demonstration of Heathrow’s manipulation of data and false claims as it tries to persuade government to succumb to its laboured pitch for a third runway. Leaving aside what it says about Heathrow’s case, that they feel it can only be made by manipulating the facts, we are simply disappointed that this latest breach of the advertising standards – the fourth within 18 months – did not result in a stronger punishment. How many more times will Heathrow make false claims of support for expansion and be allowed to get away with it? And what is the point of the ASA if it allows advertising rules to be repeatedly flouted by a known serial offender?”
For further information, contact Paul McGuinness on 07958 589894.
Copy of July 2016 Heathrow Airport Ltd advert (below)
- The ASA’s rulings can be found at www.asa.org.uk.
- The ASA’s 5 October 2016 ruling on the July 2016 Heathrow Airport Ltd advert can be found at https://www.asa.org.uk/Rulings/Adjudications.aspx#2
- The ASA’s ruling on the April 2016 Back Heathrow advert can be found at https://www.asa.org.uk/Rulings/Adjudications/2016/4/Back-Heathrow/SHP_ADJ_315946.aspx#.V_LSfjbSlMs
- The ASA’s ruling on the September 2015 Heathrow Airport Ltd advert can be found at https://www.asa.org.uk/Rulings/Adjudications/2015/9/Heathrow-Airport-Ltd/SHP_ADJ_293164.aspx#.Vxax-8ohOZI.email
- The ASA’s ruling on the February 2015 Heathrow Airport Ltd advert can be found at https://www.asa.org.uk/Rulings/Adjudications/2015/2/Heathrow-Airport-Ltd/SHP_ADJ_278727.aspx#.V_LTyTbSlMs
- Teddington Action Group is a genuine community group representing residents living in Teddington and the surrounding areas including Twickenham, Strawberry Hill and Hampton Hill. www.teddingtonactiongroup.com