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London black cab advert 'exaggerated safety from Covid'

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image copyrightGetty Images
image captionThe advert was "misleading" in claiming passengers could expect to be over two metres from the driver, the ASA found

An advertisement for London black cabs exaggerated how much the vehicles could reduce the spread of Covid-19, a watchdog has found.

The radio advert featured a passenger's voice describing how the screen between her and the driver kept her safe.

"It's like being in my own bubble back here", the promotion by the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association (LTDA) said.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled the message was "exaggerated" and "misleading".

The advert, which appeared on 9 July, continued: "Sat on the back seat, they're over two metres from me. And with contactless payments, it's even safer. I'm a black cab customer and I'm confident I'm safe."

The ASA said this "exaggerated the extent to which features of a London black cab would reduce the spread of Covid-19".

The LTDA said black cabs were one of the safer ways to travel during the pandemic, "particularly when compared to some other forms of public transport - with the partition, plenty of space and contactless payment".

'Another blow'

It added that the ASA's decision was "another blow for black cab drivers, who are already suffering greatly as a result of the pandemic and fall in demand due to restrictions".

In a published ruling, the ASA said it: "Considered consumers would understand from the ad that a passenger sat on the backseat of a London black cab could expect to be over two metres from the driver.

"We also considered that, in the context of the existing Covid-19 pandemic, the reference to being 'divided from the driver' and 'in my own bubble' would be understood as an indication that there would be complete separation from passenger and driver."

Investigations found that in two of the three models of London black cabs, drivers and passengers would be exactly two metres or more apart, the ASA said.

"However, the third model showed that the distance was either two metres or less," it added.

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionThe watchdog said the advert could not be aired again in the same form

The watchdog acknowledged the intention of the advertiser to highlight particular features that were distinct to London black cabs.

However, it ruled the ad must not appear again the same form.

Steve McNamara of the LTDA said he had no intention of misleading consumers and that the advert will not be used again.

Related Topics

  • Taxis
  • Advertising Standards Authority

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