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Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Another Chance the ASA to show they will not stand by

Complaint to the ASA about Finnair Advert

This advert is making the claim that by choosing to fly by Finnair, you can be “eco-smart.”

This is totally misleading and breaches the ASA code, sections 49.1 and 49.2.

Section 49.1 says “The basis of any claim should be explained clearly and should be qualified where necessary.” There is no explanation of this claim. To say that their planes are brand new is not an explanation of why it is eco-smart to fly with Finnair. Put simply, planes will always produce huge amounts of emissions, irrespective of how modern they are. If an airline expands its business as a result of a market shift towards modern planes then the emissions will increase accordingly. The extra emissions will outweigh the savings. None of this is eco-smart.

Also other airlines and airplane manufacturers are making similar claims about their environmental benefits, i.e. Easy Jet, Airbus, and Boeing. Finnair’s advert makes no comparison between the age of their planes and those of similar operators or no comparison against the most fuel efficient planes available today.

Section 49.2 says, “Claims such as ‘environmentally friendly’ or ‘wholly biodegradable’ should not be used without qualification unless marketers can provide convincing evidence that their product will cause no environmental damage when taking into account the full life cycle of the product.”

There is no qualification to this advert. It simply implies that the passenger is “eco-smart,” if they travel with Finnair. The advert does not provide any quantification of the CO2 emissions per person taking a flight and certainly does not put it into context, i.e. by comparing with emissions of a UK holiday.

Furthermore, the advert is aimed at users of London Underground. In general the users of Lonn Underground will not be as well versed about the issues surrounding climate change and the impact of aviation as readers of publications such as the National Geographic. As such they are more likely to be persuaded by the lie that flying by Finnair was in actual fact eco-smart, rather than highly environmentally damaging.
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