AN advertising watchdog have ordered Ryanair to remove an ‘irresponsible’ advert that implied travel would be safe following the rollout of coronavirus vaccinations.
The footage which showed people without masks on summer holidays became the third most criticised ad of all time after receiving more than 2,370 complaints according to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).
Promoted between December and January to coincide with the first round of vaccine injections in the UK, the Ryanair campaign encouraged consumers to book Easter and summer holidays, suggesting that they could ‘jab and go’.
The first ad began with an image of a medical syringe and a vial labelled ‘VACCINE’ alongside large on-screen text which stated ‘VACCINES ARE COMING’.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has now blocked the ‘misleading’ and ‘irresponsible’ commercials.
The budget airline responded to the ban saying ‘important contextual factors’ needed to be taken into account when considering the advert, including the general awareness of the public around the national vaccination programme and the constantly changing restrictions on international travel.
The company said it had made no specific claims about who, when or how vaccines would be administered, or how long it would take for people to become fully protected.
It added that the advert was meant to be ‘uplifting’ and did not consider the content was insensitive to people lost loved ones due to the virus.
But the ASA said ordered that the advert in question must be removed by Ryanair.due to the ‘complex and constantly evolving’ situation.
They added that while some viewers may have found the tone of the advert ‘distasteful’, it was unlikely to have caused widespread offence.
The ASA ruling said: “We told Ryanair DAC to ensure their ads did not mislead viewers about the impact that COVID-19 vaccines would have on their ability to travel abroad during Easter and summer 2021, and to ensure their ads did not encourage irresponsible behaviour.”