ASA bans British Airways trade fair ad

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LONDON - The Advertising Standards Authority has ruled against a BA ad for misleadingly suggesting the airline flew directly to Guangzhou in China, after one complaint.

The TV ad was created by BBH as part of British Airway's 'World of Opportunities' campaign which focuses on events around the world.

The Canton Trade Fair in China ran from 15 October to 4 November and is widely considered to be the biggest business opportunity in the country. The BA ad featured street scenes from Guangzhou, or Canton, and showed prepartions for the fair.

The ad's voiceover said: "Preparations are underway for the world's biggest trade fair here in China."

"This year's Canton Fair opens on the 15 October for three weeks and will see two billion dollars worth of trade every day.

"Right now, somewhere in the world, is a great business opportunity. And no-one can fly you to more of them, direct from the UK, than British Airways."

BA operates direct flights from the UK to Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai. Customers can then catch another flight, train, bus or ferry to Guangzhou, a journey which takes from one to two hours.

Clearcast said it interpreted the ad to mean that BA could fly people to destinations around the world and argued that BA did not claim to fly to Guangzhou.

The ASA ruled the ad was misleading and must not appear again in its current form.


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