In 2020 Quadrature Climate Foundation (QCF) decided to purchase a large amount of outdoor media space at airports and train stations in Glasgow and London around the time of COP26. This was to effectively block other advertisers from placing ‘green-washing’ ads targeting delegates travelling to the conference.
QCF commissioned major marketing agency Iris Worldwide to create a series of hard hitting adverts showing people directly affected by climate change.
The Advertising Standards Authority had no issues with the ads created. However Glasgow and Heathrow Airports, as well as a number of railway stations, all refused to display the adverts as they were originally created saying they were “threatening and sinister” and “politically motivated”.
Glasgow Airport even withdrew removed half the ad space that QCF had bought citing an “adminstrative error”.
Iris had to modify the adverts several times before they were accepted by the transport hubs.
The final adverts were much less impactful showing highly cropped images with a weaker slogan of “The World is Looking to You COP26”.
Iris said they had “never encountered this level of intervention” before.