Feeds

Ad industry OKs climate porn

You write the cheques, we'll drown the puppies

Build a business case: developing custom apps

The UK advertising industry has bravely decided it can continue to accept millions of pounds from the state to create alarming climate advertisements, despite inaccuracies and a storm of complaints from parents. The principled decision, from the admen's self-regulatory body the ASA, follows 939 complaints about the UK energy ministry DECC's "Drowning Dog" prime time TV and cinema ad (aka "Bedtime Story") , which cost £6m, and four related posters.

Critics aren't happy, and point out that the chair of the ASA, Lord Chris Smith of Finsbury, also chairs the Environment Agency, and is currently working closely with DECC.

The ASA dismissed complaints against the TV ad, although it upheld complaints against two of the related poster advertisements, and has requested they not be run again. On the charge that the campaign was political, ASA deferred to OFCOM, which is continuing to investigate the advertisements, and has not yet made a decision.

Drowning Dog

The TV and cinema ad predicted "awful heat waves" and "terrible storms and floods" for the future, claiming that life would be "very different in 26 years" if people failed to make decisions such as living in colder houses, or using less transportation. The ASA examined 'Drowning Dog' on the grounds it was misleading, was not based on objective evidence, and caused unnecessary personal distress.

In its defence, DECC cited reports from the UN's IPCC panel, and the ASA agreed there was an "overwhelming consensus in the global community of climate scientists" backing this particular climate theory. The ASA believed the IPCC to be objective and independent, and concluded there was "not a significant division of opinion" amongst scientists on the theory.

Therefore, the ASA found that "the level of discomfort was proportionate to the risk". It also noted that as the child's (cartoon) dog drowned, "the child showed wonder rather than fear or distress". An appeal to fear is justified in the CAP Code's marketing guidelines, said the ASA.

The ASA panel said that to reflect the computer models from which the predictions originated, but said they were justified.

Surprisingly the ASA even supported the ad's claim that 40 per cent of CO2 in the atmosphere came from humans doing "ordinary every day things". In fact, human CO2 emissions are a much smaller proportion (3.5 per cent) of total CO2 emissions. Here's how the ASA squared the circle:

Because the claim "over 40% of the C02 was coming from ordinary every day things like keeping houses warm and driving cars" was preceded by those qualifications and was accompanied by images of human activity in a typical UK town, such as cars driving along streets and lighting in houses, we considered it would be clear to most viewers that the ad was discussing increasing levels of C02 and that the claim "over 40% of the C02 was coming from ordinary every day things like keeping houses warm and driving cars" referred not to total C02 in the global atmosphere, but to C02 produced by human activities in the UK.

Posters produced by the Energy ministry didn't fare so well.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
LOHAN packs bags for SPACEPORT AMERICA!
Spanish launch goes titsup, we're off to the US of A
Gigantic toothless 'DRAGONS' dominated Earth's early skies
Gummy pterosaurs outlived toothy competitors
'Leccy racer whacks petrols in Oz race
ELMOFO rakes in two wins in sanctioned race
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
CRR-CRRRK, beep, beep: Mars space truck backs out of slippery sand trap
Curiosity finds new drilling target after course correction
Astronomers scramble for obs on new comet
Amateur gets fifth confirmed discovery
Boffins build CYBORG-MOTHRA but not for evil: For search & rescue
This tiny bio-bot will chew through your clothes then save your life
Vulture 2 takes a battering in 100km/h test run
Still in one piece, but we're going to need MORE POWER
What does a flashmob of 1,024 robots look like? Just like this
Sorry, Harvard, did you say kilobots or KILLER BOTS?
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.