First under fire over ‘low emissions’ ad

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FirstGroup has come under fire from the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for claiming its buses are “low emission” on its TV advertisement.

The ad claimed, “We [heart symbol] low emissions” and printed on the screen: “Our buses produce 4.97 per cent less carbon than conventional diesel buses.”

A complainant contacted the ASA on the grounds that, for a vehicle to be considered “low emission” under DfT guidelines, it has to produce 30% less carbon than conventional diesel buses.

The ASA noted the DfT’s definition was produced for their own purposes but considered “most viewers would expect the definition of ‘low emissions’ in a transport ad to be in line with the DfT’s definition”.

“We considered in stating ‘We love low emissions’ in the ads, some viewers might have been misled into believing First’s buses were comparable to those low emissions buses, when they only produced 4.97% CO2 reduction, not 30%. We, therefore, concluded the ads were misleading.”