Fooling Consumers through Advertising
Have you seen this ad while driving through the streets of Pakistan?
Every time I see it, it makes me a little bit angrier. For those of you who do not understand Urdu or Hindi, the ad’s tag line is “Pankhay ke tarha chalayen” i.e. Run it (or use it) like a fan. This line encourages users to think that by using the Gree Inverter air conditioner, they will use the same amount of electricity as a ceiling fan.
Considering the severe energy crisis we are facing in Pakistan at the moment, with a 30% shortage of supply compared to electricity demand, this advertisement is very irresponsible. In addition, it is making a statement that is a lie, or at least a selective truth. And it is a lie that many consumers believe, as has been seen by discussions on many Pakistani forums.
Moderately efficient 56″ ceiling fans use 80W of electricity. If you run one efficient ceiling fan for 10 hours every day, at the end of the month, you will end up paying Rs. 240-500 for your electricity bill per fan based on whether you are a domestic or commercial customer, and what electricity tariff you are paying.
However, a Gree 1 ton AC (12000 BTU) that does not use an inverter, consumes on average about 1080-1250W of power, based on the model, as you can see on our air conditioner comparison page. The best inverter air conditioners in the market consume on average 450-500W of power per ton. Is Gree saying that its inverter air conditioners use 80% less power than the most energy efficient models in the world? It cannot really be saying that since even in the ad shown above, Gree says that the AC uses up to 60% less than what we assume are the non-inverter air conditioners that Gree manufactures. That means, in the best case scenario, Gree’s inverter AC uses 432W of power on average.
If you look at Gree’s specifications for its inverter AC, shown below, you can see that the lowest amount of power that their 1 ton inverter AC uses is 220W.
Now 220W is nearly 3 times higher than a moderately efficient ceiling fan. What is important for Gree to clarify is under which circumstances does the inverter AC use just 220W of power. Is that the case when there is not much difference between the temperature outside and inside the room, for instance in our mild winters? Is it when the dehumidifier or “Dry” option (a very important part of feeling cool) is turned off? Please clarify to us what is the average amount of power that the 1 ton inverter AC will consume on an average summer day (34-36 degrees Centigrade) in Pakistan if the AC is set to cool the room to 26 degree Centigrade.
Even if we assume that the Gree inverter air conditioner is as efficient as the best ACs in the world, then a 1 ton unit will use 500W of power on average. That means that when this air conditioner is run for 10 hours every day, then at the end of the month your electricity costs for running this AC will be between Rs. 1500-3150 per month. While this may be 30-50% lower than what your air conditioner is currently costing you, it is still 6 times higher than what a ceiling fan will cost in electricity bills.
Gree actually does produce moderately efficient air conditioners. They are a good product in our Pakistani market, which overflows with inefficient appliances. However, please do not disrespect the intelligence of your consumers or the trust we place in you, nor produce advertisements that encourage irresponsible and ignorant behaviour from Pakistanis.
The worst part is that Orient has been impressed by Gree and has started a similar ad campaign for its air conditioners. Orient goes one step further by claiming that its inverter air conditioners use 80W of power, instead of just alluding to the power consumption of ceiling fans. I would ask Orient the same questions that I have asked Gree. Tell us the power consumption of this AC under real usage scenarios.
A much better ad from Gree is the one for Viola, which mentions that the air conditioner has received an A+ Energy Efficiency Rating from Europe, as seen in the energy rating label in the ad below.
What are your opinions about the ads shown here?