Posters advertising the Stansted Express have been banned from the airport following a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). The posters currently display the text “Train to London 35 minutes” alongside images of famous tourist spots in London with the intention of informing travellers that aren’t fluent in English in a simple, easy to understand way.
Under closer inspection, following a complaint, the ASA discovered that the actual travel time to central London was closer to 45 minutes and ruled that the poster was likely to mislead passengers. They went on to say that “We understood that many travellers would not necessarily speak English and that the use of tourist landmarks was intended to communicate a simple message. However, we considered that the simplicity of the message could potentially confuse visitors about where in the city they would get to in 35 minutes.”
National Express, who are in charge of the train service, say that over 50% of the train’s business is generated from international passengers many of whom do not fully understand fluent English. The usage of simple images of a train, the time and famous landmarks was intended to convey the message in a simple and concise manner.
The ads are now currently in the process of being changed.