Heathrow adverts on the Underground subvertised

It was just too tempting for someone to resist. The Underground is plastered with adverts from Heathrow airport, promoting their new runway. And promoting the idea that their runway is of vital importance to not only the travellers who fly, using their airport, but the whole UK economy. And not just now – one ad proclaims that a small child needs a new Heathrow runway for her future welfare. And now many posters have been subvertised. The exaggerated claims of benefits from Heathrow have been substituted by more realistic text, illustrating that the carbon emissions from an expanded Heathrow would be more than any other carbon source in the UK. Larger even than the emissions of many more moderate countries, less addicted than we are to hyper-mobility. The advert with the small girl, which can be seen on a huge number of Tube trains, is still being investigated (for the past 2 months or so) by the Advertising Standards Authority, which is assessing the credibilty of the advert’s claims.



Heathrow advert little girl subvertised Nov 2014

Heathrow advert subvertised Nov 2014

 And this massive hoarding:

Heathrow advert October 2014 has been altered to:

Heathrow roadside hoarding subvertised Nov 2014

And this one found in Twickenham:


Photo courtesy & copyright of Jodie Holland aka @dutchmrs on Twitter.

It’s on the corner of Staines Road and Elmsleigh Road and should raise a chuckle with the retired thespians in Brinsworth House opposite. Perhaps there’s a connection? Look out for an aged actor armed with spray can and a long ladder roaming the streets of Twickenham after dark.




Does Heathrow advert implying a small girl needs a 3rd runway, for her future, meet Advertising Standards?

Later news (October): The ASA have now taken this matter up with Heathrow airport, to be dealt with under the ASA’s formal investigations procedure. After various stages, including giving Heathrow the opportunity to send evidence to support their claims, the ASA’s decision will be published on their website. Timescale not known.
Copy of the Heathrow full page advert, as it appeared on 16.9.2014 on Page 11 of City AM.




Earlier this week, Heathrow put out full page advertisements for their 3rd runway. This is part of an on-going, and expensive media campaign. However, they may have mis-judged the tone of this one. It features a small girl, aged about 5, with her hand up – and the text makes out that her future well being will depend upon ….. guess what?? …. a new Heathrow runway. The advert says the 3rd runway will deliver “… at least £100 billion of economic benefits [no timescale given] the length and breadth of the country.  …. So, even if our little girl never leaves home, she’ll still feel the benefit.”  People may have been inspired to write to the Advertising Standards Authority, to complain about this rather dubious text, with unsubstantiated claims, making use of a small child, to try to make a PR point. One such letter to the ASA has been copied to AirportWatch, in which the writer clearly puts the case that what this child needs is a stable climate for her future, not accelerating carbon emissions. The writer believes the advert to be misleading, and asks the ASA to have it withdrawn. There is now an Avaaz petition to the ASA on this ad.


Formal complaint against Heathrow Airport

An advert in today’s Observer (21st September 2014) is based entirely on the supposition that expansion of Heathrow with a 3rd runway would be to the benefit off children and future generations.

But this is a false supposition.  World scientists agree that the world has reached a crucial point in the acceleration of climate change caused by human emissions, and that air travel forms a crucial part of these emissions.  To build more runways producing yet more emissions could set off a series positive feedback as detailed in Professor Houghton’s textbook on Global Warming, reaching irreversible tipping-points with the potential to make this planet uninhabitable for future generations.

Global warming is already estimated to be responsible for thousands of deaths around the world – by such means as increased incidents of flooding, droughts, crop failures leading to starvation, landslides, forest fires, etc., etc.  To allow greenhouse emissions by all means but particularly air traffic where the effects are magnified, is to subject children of today and future generations to even greater such calamities.

Thus Heathrow Airport, by presenting its expansion as being wholly to the benefit of future generations without even mentioning the risks and dangers of such increases in air traffic, is consciously misleading the public.

The advertisement should therefore be immediately banned and withdrawn.

Submitted to Advertising Standards Authority, 21st September 2014