Peters & Peters

JDP finds Skoda LinkedIn ad misleading

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Key facts:

The JDP received a complaint about a LinkedIn ad for Skoda’s electrical SUV-type vehicle: Enyaq iV. The ad showed the vehicle traveling on a road by some woods, with the caption “The king of the forest. Don’t look, there is no deer in the photo, we are indeed talking about the Enyaq iV”.

The complainant:

  • considered that the ad amounted to greenwashing and trivialised the loss of biodiversity;
  • argued that the message implied that the car was the king of the forest, instead of the deer;
  • pointed out that the road had clearly been built on former woodland, and therefore the deer had been deprived of its habitat;
  • considered that Skoda was not the king of the forest since it contributed to pollution in various ways;
  • added that vehicles caused 23,500 accidents involving mammals, including 5% with deer; and
  • concluded that vehicles, including this big type of electrical vehicles, are anything but good for the forest.

Skoda argued that the post was taken down after it had become aware of the complaint and that only one complaint was received. It also pointed out that the intention was never to pass off the deer as being able to be “replaced” by a vehicle, albeit an electrical one. Instead, the aim was to showcase this new type of vehicle, which formed part of its roadmap towards increasing the production of 100% electric vehicles.

According to Skoda, the post was written in a deliberately offbeat tone and was based on what a collective understanding would make of it.

The JDP considered that the term “king of the forest” applied to the vehicle. If the promotion of an electric vehicle referred to the sustainable advantages of the product, this needed to be on the basis of objective, reliable, truthful and verifiable elements at the time of advertisement.

However, this was not the case for a comparison between a vehicle and a deer, as it unjustifiably equates an animal and a product causing environmental harm. The JDP therefore considered that the ad was likely to mislead the public about the environmental advantages of the vehicle.

The JDP also noted that the addition of a green heart emoticon reinforced the ecological argument accompanying the promotion of the vehicle, a point which the advertiser had accepted when it had mentioned that its “roadmap is leaning towards increasing production of 100% electric vehicles”.

The JDP ruled that the ad did not abide by the Sustainable Development Recommendation.

Source(s):

JDP ruling

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