Print ad in The Australian discontinued after Ad Standards violation

An advertisement from The Climate Study Group that appeared in The Australian has been discontinued after violating Sections 1a) and 3a) of the Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA) Environmental Code.

The complainant argued the advertisement, ‘The Carbon Dioxide Climate Myth’, contained misleading claims, and that it appeared like native content.

“They have published climate denial + disinformation in The Australian,” the complainant wrote. “This fraudulent ad is indistinguishable from editorial content. However the content of this ad is far from editorial. It’s a fringe conspiracy theory presenting false and misleading claims. It’s attempting to mislead viewers into believing that climate change is just a myth by making blatantly incorrect claims.

“Fraudulent content itself shouldn’t be allowed in public media and definitely presented in a way that gives it the credibility of the publication – by looking native. Extremely unethical of both whoever created this ad and the publication itself for running this.”

Ad Standards found it to breach Section 1a) – ‘environmental claims in advertising or marketing communication shall not be misleading or deceptive or be likely to mislead or deceive’ of the Code due to a “a number of statements which could be considered environmental claims” that were misleading or deceptive. It also breached Section 3a) – ‘environmental claims…shall be able to be substantiated and verifiable’ as “the advertiser had not provided adequate substantiation for the claims made in the advertisement”.

The Climate Study Group responded to the claim, saying “scientific material based on observed evidence in this response demonstrates the advertisement does not support the claim of being ‘fraudulent’, ‘unethical’ or ‘disinformation’.”

The Panel upheld the complaints, and “agree[d] to discontinue ‘The Carbon Dioxide Climate Myth’ ad.”


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