UK watchdog bans Nissan Leaf advert


UK advertising watchdog ASA has censored Nissan over misleading claims. Nissan had said the Leaf could largely be charged within an hour but ASA found the claims not “substantiated” enough despite Nissan’s clarification in fine print.

The argument of not having enough substance could go both ways though, particularly when taking into account, that Nissan not only included fine print in the first place but had changed their promotion following ASA’s ruling before.

Nissan had first advertised the Leaf as offering a “quick charge on the move”, meaning drivers could get 80% capacity in 40-60 minutes from a rapid charger.

In a footnote, it added that the time would depend on the charger type and other conditions. However, three people complained that it sometimes took longer than an hour to charge.

Nissan then carried out a review and changed the wording to say motorists would “get from 20-80% charge in around 60 minutes”.

While this could not be any more open, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) upheld the complaint, saying “we considered that even with those amendments the ad was still likely to mislead, because the claim and accompanying footnote still did not clearly convey the degree of variability in the time that may be required to deliver a certain amount of charge”.

It is the first time, an electric car manufacturer has been censored over charging times. We cannot help but think of “clean diesel” advertising or Shell claiming to “Make the future” that were allowed to be out there. Lexus also comes to mind. They recently launched an advertising campaign for their conventional hybrid cars in which they tried to prey on PHEV and pure electric cars. Really, how off topic can it get?


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