Marketers have been known to make claims that test our good sense, our gullibility and our patience. But in a field in which it's often the best story -- not the best product -- that wins, some of the more unsightly details can get left out when making a pitch. Nevertheless, there is still, as Pinocchio's nose would tell you, a line between a tall tale and what's commonly referred to as a lie.
Saab Australia drove its entire model range over that line when it claimed in a campaign last year that "Every Saab is green, with carbon emissions neutral across the entire Saab range." The ads also said Saab would plant 17 native trees to offset the CO2 emissions for the lifespan of each car it sold. Turns out that 17 trees only offsets the carbon produced in the first year of a car's life. Saab left that part out when they
Australia's competition watchdog took Saab's parent company, GM Holden, to court, and in a verdict for truth and the environment, Saab's claims were declared, ahem, "misleading". GM has pledged to "retrain its marketing staff in relation to making green claims," and plant a forest of 12,500 trees to cover the lifetime emissions of all the cars sold during the campaign.