The British Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has motived two of its rulings that affect synthetic turf. The motivation highlights two key areas for marketers to be mindful of.
In both cases, ASA ruled that advertisements placed by synthetic turf company were misleading and breached the Code by describing synthetic turf products as ‘eco-grass’ and ‘eco-friendly’. While this in itself is not prohibited, both companies failed to back up their claim by submitting evidence.
ASA points out that, if an ad includes an ‘absolute’ environmental claim (e.g., that a product is “eco-friendly” or “green”), then advertisers need to hold evidence that the product has no negative environmental impact across its entire lifecycle. The only exception to this ‘absolute’ requirement is if the ad makes clear that the claim is based on something more specific, such as a particular part of the lifecycle or a particular component. In the case of synthetic turf the total lifecycle includes the materials it’s made from, the production process, how it’s transported and disposed of, as well its day-to-day use and upkeep.
When the ASA recently investigated an ad that claimed “Soul Eco-grass is recyclable”, they asked for evidence about both the claims “Eco-” and “recyclable”. The ad didn’t make clear that “Eco-” only related to part of the product’s lifecycle, and they didn’t provide sufficient evidence to back up either claim, so the ad breached the Code.
In another recent case, the ASA investigated the claim that artificial grass was “eco-friendly”. Again, the advertisers couldn’t back up the claim “eco-friendly” with evidence about the product’s environmental impact across its full lifecycle.