Great Western Railway advert banned
Company sanctioned over misleading claim
Train operator Great Western Railway has been sanctioned by the Advertising Standards agency over adverts that suggest its service is publicly owned, the Guardian reported this week.
A poster campaign introducing the company formerly known as First Great Western when it rebranded last September stated: “The railway belongs to the region it serves.”
Complainants to the Advertising Standards Authority pointed out that GWR belongs to its owner, FirstGroup, a multinational transport company listed on the London Stock Exchange, and not the people of south-west England.
The ASA ruled that the advert was misleading and “might encourage consumers to use or enquire about using the service, for example, out of regional loyalty or because they believed profits directly belonged to the local region”.
It told GWR not to suggest in future that the railway franchise was publicly owned, if that was not the case.
Cat Hobbs, director of the campaign group We Own It, told the Guardian:
“Privatisation is now so unpopular that train companies can get good PR by pretending to be publicly owned. The GWR advert is misleading – it’s also a sign that it’s time for real public ownership.”
Read more about rail operators in our guide to trains. As part of our special report on transport.
This story has been added to our corporate database. The database powers all our live product guides, giving the score for each company on our rankings tables. Find out more about how we rate companies.