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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Idiot response from the Advertising Standards Authority

Dear Mr Lister

AIRBUS S.A.S

Thank you for your patience while we considered your complaint about Airbus SAS.

However we have considered your complaint and the ad in question but have decided that we don’t have grounds for further action on this occasion.

When assessing complaints about press ads, our concern is with how they will be taken by those who see them. We can and do take action where we feel that and ad is likely to cause harm or misleading consumers to their detriment.

On this occasion we didn’t think that the ad was likely to have that effect. I note that you object to the advertisers’ claim to be reducing its environmental impact by lowering fuel consumption and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. While such claims would require substantiations, we have studied the ad and note that the advertisers are in fact more circumspect. The claim in the press ad doesn’t state that they have lowered fuel consumption and reduced noise and greenhouse gas emissions by a specific amount, simply that that is the goal that they are working towards. While I take your point that the aviation industry carries, by its nature, a significant environmental detriment, we think that most consumers are likely to understand their claim to be working towards reducing that detriment is relative to the industry within which they operate.

You are correct in saying that first generation biofuels do contribute to the loss of biodiversity by competing for arable land, contributing towards deforestation and putting pressure on freshwater resources. However, these types of biofuels are unsuitable for use in the aviation industry who use only second or next generation biofuels. Second generation biofuels are non-food plants that don’t take up arable land and can be grown in most locations worldwide, including desert and salt-water areas.

We are therefore satisfied that consumers are likely to understand that, despite the increase in air traffic, the advertisers are actively seeking ways in which to reduce their environmental impact. On this basis we don’t think that this ad is in breach of our Code or likely to misleading consumers to their detriment.

Thank you for taking the time to contact us. I am sorry that we are unable to help you further on this occasion but I hope that you will find this information helpful.

Yours sincerely,
Julia Dean
Complaints ExecutiveEmail: juliad@asa.org.uk
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