By Edward Thicknesse, cityam.com
The advertising watchdog has banned Ryanair from airing its controversial “jab & go” advert, in ruling published today.
The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) said it had received 2,370 complaints over the advert – the third most for any single ad.
ASA said that the campaign, which encouraged people to book flights with Ryanair after getting the coronavirus vaccine, were “misleading” and “encouraged people to behave irresponsibly”.
The budget carrier pulled the ads last week after it was notified of the complaints.
The watchdog investigated three complaints against the airline, upholding two and dismissing one.
A number of those who complained said that the ad suggested that most of the population would be vaccinated by the summer.
Although the ads were launched before the UK’s vaccination programme really kicked into gear, ASA said this was “misleading”.
It also ruled: “We further considered the ads encouraged people to behave irresponsibly by prompting those who were not yet eligible to be vaccinated to contact GPs or other NHS services in an attempt to arrange vaccination, at a time when health services were under particular strain.”
However, complaints that the ads undermined the severity of the pandemic were dismissed.
“Whilst we acknowledged that many viewers had found the tone of the ads distasteful we considered they were unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence”, it said.
Ryanair said it disagreed with the ruling. A spokesperson said: “The ASA’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.”