The UK’s advertising watchdog has ruled that Ryanair’s controversial “jab and go” tv campaign that launched on Boxing Day broke advertising rules within the country and must therefore no longer be broadcast.
The ad campaign, which comprises two TV ads, features a small bottle labelled “vaccine” and a syringe, and encourages the British public to book bargain deals to European hotspots like Spain and Greece this summer.
Passengers, according to the ads, could “jab and go” after receiving their vaccinations.
Groups of friends in their 20s and 30s engaging in normal holiday activities such as jumping in a pool or dining in a restaurant are also featured in the ads with text saying “Covid vaccines are coming so book your Easter and summer holidays today with Ryanair”.
Michael O’Leary, chief executive of Ryanair, spoke earlier this week of how he believes the vaccine rollout would allow British families to holiday in Europe this summer.
However, a total of 2,370 complaints were made to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) in response to the campaign.
Many branded the ads as misleading by suggesting most people would be able to travel abroad by spring or summer and that restrictions, such as social distancing and mask wearing, would no longer need to be followed.
The Advertising Standards Authority agreed the ads, the third most complained-about of all time, were inappropriate and encouraged the public to act irresponsibly after receiving the Covid-19 jab.
In response, Ryanair said the ads were designed to be “uplifting and encourage viewers to consider a brighter future”.
Further, the budget airline proposed the ads showed people “holidaying in their social bubble” and that there were “no requirements that holidaymakers be shown wearing face masks or social distancing.”
Despite these arguments, the ASA said that the ads “could encourage vaccinated individuals to disregard or lessen their adherence to restrictions” and ruled that the ads “must not be broadcast again.”
Ryanair has confirmed they will comply with the ruling but believe the decision is at odds with the success of the government’s vaccine rollout.
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Ryanair Won’t Fly with Social Distancing Rules
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The UK government is expected to announce that travellers coming from high-risk countries to England could soon be legally required to quarantine in hotels, amid concerns about importing variants of Covid-19.