Posted by: Ian Rowley on May 23, 2007
Red faces all round for the advertising execs behind a campaign for Lexus RX 400h hybrid in the UK. Britain’s advertising watchdog has banned magazines ads for the green SUV for being misleading. The problem lay with the headline which ran “High performance. Low emissions. Zero guilt.” The Advertising Standards Authority accepted that the within its particular segment the RX 400h had very low emissions, but said it was misleading for Lexus bosses to imply that the vehicle’s emissions were low in comparison with all vehicles and that the SUV caused little to the environment (“No Guilt”). The Authority ruled that also Lexus couldn’t make similar comparisons and claims in future ads if they couldn’t prove it.
That might seem a smidgeon hard on the Lexus folks, but one wonders if they’ll be too upset. After all, in Britain a round of Toyota bashing is unlikely (heck, the indigenous UK car industry mostly died out years ago and what’s left is in large part Japanese). What’s more, the kerfuffle may even help raise the profile of hybrids in a country where they remain few and far between.