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ASA finds in favour of Ford following investigation into “zero-emissions” claims in adverts

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Key facts:

The ASA investigated a paid-for Google advert that included the text “New All-Electric Explorer – Redefining Adventure. The ultimate all-electric SUV is here. The Explorer. Redefine the meaning of adventure. The ultimate exploration vehicle – Find out more & discover the range of features. Zero-emissions driving. Fast charging. Driver Assistance Tech”.

The advert had been identified for investigation as a result of intelligence gathered by the ASA’s artificial intelligence monitoring system. The ASA investigated whether the advert misleadingly represented the vehicle’s environmental impact.

Ford argued that the advert was not misleading. However, in response to the investigation, it said that it would make future adverts clearer by amending the claim to “zero emissions while driving”.

The ASA found that the advert was not misleading. The claim “zero emissions driving” in isolation was ambiguous, as it could be interpreted as an absolute claim and a comment on emissions resulting from a vehicle through its life cycle. However, the claim was immediately followed by the words “fast charging” and “driver assistance tech”. This additional text placed the claim in the context of some of the specific features of the car, which included its emissions while being driven, its charging capability and technical functions.

Given that specific context, consumers were unlikely to understand the claim to be a comment on the vehicle’s overall life cycle (manufacture, use and disposal) emissions.

Source(s):

ASA ruling

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