Peters & Peters

Natural gas advert deemed misleading or deceptive

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Key facts:

A digital billboard advert by the AGN featured the words “Greener than anything you’re cooking tonight. Love Cleaner Energy, Love Natural Gas” and a picture of a man in a kitchen holding a tray of lasagna. Complaint was made regarding the advert, including that the claims in the billboard were not true, that natural gas is a high-carbon intensive fuel, and that its extraction by fracking and the fugitive emission make it comparable to coal as a source of greenhouse gas emissions.
In AGN’s response to the complaints, it stated:

“We believe that the wording of the advertisement is consistent with the environmental benefits of natural gas, and can be clearly understood by the consumer, for whom grid electricity is the alternative energy option.

“The advertisement wording of ‘Love cleaner energy. Love natural gas’ promotes natural gas as the cleaner option but not necessarily the “cleanest” energy fuel.

[…]

“The claim ‘Greener than anything you’re cooking tonight’ is not an overstatement as we consider a reasonable person would understand the sentiment is being compared to the green colour of any vegetable present in lasagna.”

The majority of the Ad Standards panel found that the overall impression of this advert on the average consumer would be that natural gas is “cleaner and greener” than any alternative method of cooking. As such, the panel found that the claim was misleading or deceptive based on the impression that the average consumer would receive.

The panel therefore concluded that the advertisement had breached Section 1(a) of the Environmental Code, Code which requires that, “Environmental Claims in Advertising or Marketing Communications… shall not be misleading or deceptive or be likely to mislead or deceive.”

Source(s):

Ad Standards case report

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