Home Office ‘Go Home’ Advertisements Banned for being misleading
A recent Home Office (former UK Border Agency) campaign telling illegal immigrants to “Go Home” has been banned for using misleading arrest statistics.
The campaign, which involved vans displaying a huge poster on each side saying ‘Go Home or Face Arrest’ were driven through six London boroughs between July 22 and July 28 2013. They attracted 224 complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), including some from groups representing migrants in the UK, legal academics and the Labour peer Lord Lipsey.
The poster was designed to scare and featured an image of someone holding a pair of handcuffs and wearing a uniform with a “Home Office” badge and provided a telephone number for migrants to call to facilitate their own removal from the UK.
However below these large lettered words was green text in the style of an official stamp claiming that there had been “106 arrests last week in your area”. Small print hidden at the bottom of the poster corrected the claim and stated that the arrest figures were from the period June 30 to July 6 and covered Barking and Dagenham, Redbridge, Barnet, Brent, Ealing and Hounslow.
Most of the complainants said the poster, and in particular the phrase “go home”, was offensive and distressing and reminiscent of slogans used by racist groups. The complainants stated that the advertising campaign was irresponsible and harmful because it could incite or exacerbate racial hatred and tensions. It was also stated that the small print was not legible on the moving vehicle and therefore the advertisement was misleading. For this reason it has now been banned.
For an excellent repertoire of the failed and misleading advertising campaign we highly recommend the The Pukka Punjabi article of 28 July in the Guardian – anyone requiring a lift home is advised to Text ‘HOME’ to 78070 !