Thursday, 10 June 2010

Trafigura Ad: Guardian Verdict on Outcome

The Guardian, through Afua Hirsch’s Law Blog, comments on the result of the Dutch Advertising Code investigation of an “advert” placed in Dutch papers only in September of last year.  Click here to read an English translation.

The article starts,

“The world's least favourite oil trading company, Trafigura, has just suffered another PR blow. It's been told by the Dutch advertising standards commission that its claim to have good intentions in its dealings with West Africa misled the public.

The issue was a series of newspaper ads put out by the company in the Netherlands claiming that it "always aims for a proper adherence to its economic and social activities in the West African region."

It doesn't take a genius to figure out the motives behind the ads.”

and continues

“…… (a)nd if it seems as though Trafigura got off lightly – with little more than a rap on the knuckles for their misleading claim that the company behaves well in West Africa – it is being prosecuted in the Netherlands, too. That's the reason, the company said, that it did not go into any of the substance of complaints against it, preferring instead to stick to bland PR about its good behaviour.”


“….. Interestingly when the RCC delivered its verdict, both Greenpeace and Trafigura claimed victory. Greenpeace because the company was told the headlines in its ads were misleading, Trafigura because the RCC found that there was nothing additionally misleading in the body of the text. But then if one thing is not in doubt, it's that Trafigura is not afraid of audacious PR.”

In a few days  - once I’ve finished with the findings in Dutch - we’ll see how accurate is this and other descriptions of the result.

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