Heathrow bullish about ad­vert words

Air­port bosses agree to change claims about MPs

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS - By Matt Strud­wick matt.strud­wick@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

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

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