Deceptive Space Advertising
Clark Lindsay on HobbySpace links to a report about a New Zealand Advertising Standards Authority ruling that a ride in a Russian MiG fighter jet which flies only to the upper atmosphere, heart-stoppingly cool as that is, alas, is not a trip to space.
The ASA, which applies a "voluntary code" which "bans ads from making claims that mislead or deceive consumers" but "allows exaggeration if it is so obvious it is not considered to be misleading," upheld a complaint about Xtra Broadband's "Win a Trip to Space" promotion, finding the ads "went to far" since the winner would only fly to the stratosphere.
The advertisements were created by Saatchi & Saatchi, which may not have known the difference.
No mention of whether space lawyers were brought in to testify as expert witnesses about the legal difference between air and space. This blog is not Stratosphere Law Probe (or even Mesosphere Law Probe, Thermosphere Law Probe or Exosphere Law Probe, for that matter) but we don't actually know the demarcation either.
(Of course, if physicists like Clark give us the answer, how will we learn?)
The article does quote one analyst who makes a good point, "The dollar value of a trip to space is measured in the tens of millions of dollars. A ride in a fighter plane costs tens of thousands."
The authority's ruling is posted here (in RTF format which for some reason my laptop would not open).
According to the article, the ASA board "believed the ads made a claim likely to exploit a consumer's lack of knowledge about space travel."
To which a spokesperson for the company said, "The next time Telecom is venturing anywhere near space, we'll make sure we get our galactic language more clear."
For now, in the end, the prize-winner reportedly "chose to go to the Maldives instead of accepting the ride on the MiG." Ah, well. We can't really blame him.