Sunday, March 14, 2010

London Bridge is falling down...because of the flash flood

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is the UK's independent regulator of advertising (on TV, Internet, etc). Their job it to "ensure ads are legal, decent, honest and truthful by applying the Advertising Codes."

The UK's Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) launched a media campaign last year describing the potential consequences of climate change, and since then has received numerous complaints. The ASA recently ruled the advertisements about climate change that were based on children's rhymes were exaggerated in that they went beyond mainstream scientific consensus. Additionally, it noted that the references to climate change failed to reflect the "involved uncertainties" of the predictions made by the IPCC.

Example One:

“Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water.
There was none as extreme weather due to climate change had caused a drought.”

Captioned: “Extreme weather conditions such as flooding, heat waves and storms will become more frequent and intense.”

Example Two:

"Rub a dub dub, three men in a tub —
a necessary course of action due to flash flooding caused by climate change.”

Captioned: “Climate change is happening. Temperature and sea levels are rising. Extreme weather events such as storms, floods and heat waves will become more frequent and intense. If we carry on at this rate, life in 25 years could be very different.”

However, other elements of the media campaign, such as the TV/theater ad that showed a father reading to his daughter a nightmarish bedtime story about a climate change ravaged planet, did not cross any ASA guidelines.

Read more about it here:

(image from

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