Peters & Peters

Lufthansa’s ‘insufficient space for qualifications’ defence does not fly with the ASA


Key facts:

The ASA challenged whether a Lufthansa paid-for Google advert in July 2023 gave a misleading impression of the company’s environmental impact. The advert included the text “Fly now with Lufthansa […] Fly more sustainably”.

Lufthansa argued that the phrase “Fly more sustainably” referred to their “Green Fares” option available on European flights, which would reduce 20% of flight related C02 emissions by using sustainable aviation fuels and offsetting the remaining 80% by an equivalent contribution to high-quality climate protection projects.

Lufthansa said the statement in the advert was an admissible comparative claim in line with the CAP Code, and argued that the limitations of Google Callout Ads meant only limited information could be included. It also argued that the average consumer and Google user would be aware of that limitation and would, therefore, follow the link provided in the search result to get further information.

Under the CAP Code, the basis of environmental claims must be clear. Unqualified claims may mislead if they omit significant information, and comparative claims may be justified if the basis of the comparison is clear.

The ASA found that the advert did not clarify how the claim “Fly more sustainably” worked in practice, and the basis of the claim was likely material information for consumers in order to make an informed decision. It said that although it understood the space limitation in the advert, material information should not be omitted. The advert breached rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising), 11.1 and 11.3 (Environmental claims) of the CAP Code.

Of note is that the ASA identified the advert by using AI in the form of its ‘Active Ad Monitoring system’. This system proactively searches for online adverts that might break the rules.

The ASA ordered that the advert must not again appear in the complained about form and advised Lufthansa to ensure its adverts did not give a misleading impression of the impact of its travel, and to ensure robust substantiation of all objective claims.


ASA ruling

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