Heathrow bullish about advert words
Airport bosses agree to change claims about MPs
HEATHROW has agreed to change the wording of an advert claiming that the majority of MPs support expansion at the airport after complaints from an action group.
Teddington Action Group says the airport’s claim that 65% of MPs support its bid for expansion was misleading as the geographical makeup of the 150 surveyed meant a bias in the result.
Heathrow has since agreed to change the advert on the recommendation of the Advertising Standards Agency ( ASA) after the watchdog received four complaints.
Paul McGuinness, spokesman for Teddington Action Group said: “This latest ruling is yet another demonstration of Heathrow’s manipulation of data and false claims as it tries to persuade government to succumb to its laboured pitch for a third runway.
“Leaving aside what it says about Heathrow’s case, that they feel it can only be made by manipulating the facts, we are simply disappointed that this latest breach of the advertising standards – the fourth within 18 months – did not result in a stronger punishment. How many more times will Heathrow make false claims of support for expansion and be allowed to get away with it?
“And what is the point of the ASA if it allows advertising rules to be repeatedly flouted by a known serial offender?”
The ASA said the matter had been resolved informally.
A spokesman for Heathrow said: “This has been misinterpreted, it is not a ruling and Heathrow has not been censured. The ASA has offered advice on the wording of the advert to give it absolute clarity.”
It is the fourth time in the last 18 months that adverts supporting expansion at the airport have been reprimanded by the advertising authority.
In April 2016 the ASA banned a pro-expansion advert from lobby group Back Heathrow which claimed ‘Most people living in communities near Heathrow Airport support its expansion’.
The ‘Don’t believe the hype’ advert was criticised for failing to provide polling data to back up its claim.
The ASA received five complaints stating the claim that the group had widespread local support was misleading.
The authority found that to get to the statement of 60% in support, Back Heathrow had excluded 15% of those surveyed on the grounds they had not expressed any opinion, creating their own analysis of just for and against.
It followed two further rulings in February and September 2015 when the ASA concluded that claims in both adverts were misleading.
n MAKING A STAND: Protestors show their feelings against a third runway at Heathrow – the airport has changed the wording of a recent pro-expansion advert