Ryanair withdraws ‘jab & go’ ad after advertising watchdog rules that it was misleading, irresponsible, and in poor taste with an ‘inappropriate tone’
- The ad promoted flights to European destinations and offered seats for €19.99
- It said: ‘Vaccines are coming, so book your Easter and summer holidays today’
- ‘Vaccines will mean an end to Covid travel restrictions in mid-2021,’ said Ryanair
- Ryanair said it would comply with the ruling, but described it as ‘baseless’
Complaints about a Ryanair ad that suggested holidaymakers could ‘jab & go’ have been upheld by Ireland’s advertising watchdog.
After receiving 59 complaints, the Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland (ASAI) ruled that the ad was in bad taste and that it’s ‘likely that consumers would interpret the phrase “jab and go” as an unequivocal endorsement of vaccinating and travelling unconditionally’, according to a newspaper report.
In response, Ryanair said it would comply with the ruling, but described it as ‘baseless’.
Complaints about a Ryanair ad that suggested holidaymakers could ‘jab & go’ have been upheld by Ireland’s advertising watchdog
The ad featured a syringe and a small bottle labelled ‘vaccine’. The ad promoted flights to sunny European destinations and offered seats for £19.99 ($27), telling customers to ‘jab & go’.
A voiceover on the TV version of the ad said: ‘Vaccines are coming, so book your Easter and summer holidays today with Ryanair. One million seats on sale for €19.99 to sunshine destinations in Spain, Italy, Portugal, Greece and many more – so you can jab and go.’
Some argued it was misleading to suggest the vaccines would be rolled out across the population by the spring and that travel restrictions would be over.
Others said it was ‘irresponsible, insensitive and offensive and trivialised the effects which the pandemic was having on society and in particular front-line workers’, The Irish Times said.
‘Ireland’s vaccination plan did not support the perception created in the marketing communications of people being capable of being vaccinated if they wished in sufficient time to travel by Easter,’ the ASAI’s complaints committee said, according to The Irish Times.
A voiceover on the TV ad said: ‘Vaccines are coming, so book your Easter and summer holidays today with Ryanair. One million seats on sale for €19.99 to sunshine destinations in Spain, Italy, Portugal, Greece and many more — so you can jab and go’
The newspaper also reported that the ASAI deemed the advert to have the ‘potential to exploit the credulity, inexperience or lack of knowledge of consumers and was not prepared with a sufficient sense of responsibility to consumers and to society’; that it was ‘not reflective of good taste’, and that it ‘did not pay sufficient regard for prevailing public sentiment, illnesses suffered, or morality and its tone was inappropriate’.
The budget carrier argued that, in light of the vaccine programme, the ads were factually accurate and that bookings could be changed without fees.
It said in an earlier statement: ‘Our ad is factually accurate, vaccines are coming (two are already approved) and this will enable passengers to book much-needed sunshine breaks for Easter and Summer 2021 and avail of Ryanair’s low prices.
‘The ad also confirms that any such bookings can be changed free of charge if customer plans change, which gives Ryanair customers even more assurances when they make Easter or Summer 2021 bookings now.
‘Some critics wish to complain just for the sake of getting noticed when it is clear that vaccines will mean an end to Covid travel restrictions in mid-2021.’
The no-frills carrier said on Sunday, in response to the ruling: ‘The ASAI’s ruling flies in the face of the UK’s successful vaccine rollout, however even though this ruling is baseless, Ryanair will comply with it and the Jab & Go adverts will not run again.’
Complaints about the advert, 1,600 in total, have also been made to Britain’s advertising watchdog, the ASA, which will publish its ruling in due course.
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