The misleading part of the ad is that when Toyota says the Prius emits up to one ton of CO2 less than similar family cars, the number is based on average annual drives of 12,430 miles. But that's the average people drive in the US. In the UK, the number is actually 8,340 miles. Fewer miles in the UK, less CO2 overall, less likely to add up to that easy-to-remember "one ton" amount. Whoops.
Or not whoops. The ad was made by Saatchi and Saatchi Japan, not exactly newbies in the advertising world, and Toyota says their "up to" disclaimer puts them in the clear. The Advertising Standards Authority, which brought down the hammer on the Lexus ads, forbid Toyota to broadcast the Prius ad again in the same form.
C'mon Toyota. You've already got the Greenpeace segment of the car buying public, and you're making a lot of inroads into the "normal" market with your hybrids. There's no reason to play so light and loose with your statistics all the time. But, you've got all our interests piqued, and for all the readers interested in seeing the commercial, it's after the break.
[Source: Rebecca Smithers and John Vidal / Guardian Unlimited via Hybrid Car Review. And thanks to Linton for the tip, via Hugg.