Advertising watchdog: Home Office 'racist van' advert misleading

9 October 2013

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) today announced that a controversial advert - termed "the racist van" by some - run by the Home Office in London earlier this year "must not appear again in its current form".

While the ASA said most of the complaints accused the advert of being offensive or distressing, these were not upheld. However the ASA did agree that it was "misleading" for the van to claim that there had been "106 arrests last week in your area."*

As we pointed out at the time, "your area" actually incorporated six London boroughs from across the capital, and the Home Office wasn't able to point us towards published data that could substantiate its figure.


The ASA also agreed that the small print that qualified the information presented on the advert was not clear enough to meet the requirements of its Code of Practice, especially for a moving van.


*By way of full disclosure, Full Fact should point out that one of these complainants - Lord Lipsey - also sits on Full Fact's board.


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