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ASA wraps VW knuckles

The Advertising Standards Agency has forced Volkswagen UK to pull a national campaign showcasing its Golf GTI TSI’s environmental credentials.

In the ad, a Golf is shown with the left hand side dimly lit in a forest with wolves and the text ‘high performance’. The right hand side of the ad is shown in a brightly lit meadow with a deer and the text ‘low emissions’.

Text underneath the picture of the car stated ‘it also does over 38mpg and emits just 175g of CO2 per kilometre. More power, less pollution. Better to drive. Better for the planet’.

The ASA received four complaints which challeneged whether the claim ‘low emissions’ gave a misleading impression of the Golf GTI TSI’s emissions in comparison with other vehicles.

VW said the purpose of the ad was to communicate that the Golf GTI TSI had low emissions for a car of it performance level. It also pointed out that the claims ‘high performance’ and low emissions for a car of its calibre had equal prominence and should be read together.

The ASA acknowledged that the new TSI engine had lower CO2 emissions than other cars with a similar performance. However, it considered that readers were likely to understand the claim ‘low emissions’ to mean the car had low emissions when compared to all cars. Because it did not, and because the comparison with vehicles delivering similar performance was not prominent or linked to the headline claim, it concluded that the ad was misleading.

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