Posted by jembendell on November 6, 2007
Most days I look at the BBC website. This week I found theyve started carrying advertising. But not any old advertising… no less than adverts saying that flying Airbus is the greener thing to do. See the screen shot below at the foot of this posting. The inaugural flight was from Singapore to Sydney. I didnt know you could drive. Perhaps Toyota brought out an amphibious Lexus while I wasnt looking, complete with storage tanks for weeks at sea.
So I sent their Global advertising person the following email:
I would welcome your advice, as the contact on the BBC website for global advertising.
Do you check the scientific credibility and clarity of the claims made by advertisers on your website?
If so, what is your evidence for the claims from Airbus, regarding comparison of flying a full aircraft with driving a car (perhaps single occupancy car)? This is disingenuous because people do not drive from Singapore to Sydney, for example, and flying makes such travel much more possible, and thus increases people’s potential carbon emissions. A comparison with a ship or train would be the only useful comparison for such long distances. The science of these claims was previously challenged in a refereed academic journal in 2002 (Journal of Corporate Citizenship: see http://www.jembendell.com/lw2002/spring4.html)
I would also welcome information on how promoting flying through advertising on your website as viewed by people outside the UK is compatible with:
a) the specific text and general spirit of the BBC Charter.
b) the role of the BBC world service in promoting British international interests, which the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is clear now includes global action on carbon emissions
c) a coherence between editorial and advertising, given the current climate change programming on BBC World.
I copy this to colleagues who are interested, as well as Simon Derry at BBC Trust and Kevin Marsh of the BBC college, who presented this summer at a UN event on media responsibilities.
Although I realise you must be getting many questions on this matter at this time I would welcome an answer that is specific to the issues I raise. Please note I will be posting this email and your reply on my personal and company blogs, and including it in my column in the academic journal I mention above.
Dr Jem Bendell
Associate Professor, Griffith Business School
Visiting Fellow, UN Research Institute for Social Development
www.lifeworth.com / www.jembendell.com
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