TWO Ryanair TV ads encouraging people to book summer holidays because “vaccines are coming” have been banned after a backlash from viewers.
Watchdogs received 2,370 complaints about the Christmas commercial — the third highest ever for an ad.
An image of a syringe and vaccine vial was accompanied by a voice-over saying: “Covid vaccines are coming. So book your Easter and summer holidays today with Ryanair.”
The Advertising Standards Authority said it implied most would be jabbed by summer and ruled it breached “misleading” and “responsible” ad rules.
An ASA spokesman said: “We considered that consumers could easily be confused or uncertain about the situation at any given time and how it might develop throughout 2021.
“It was therefore important that advertisers were cautious when linking developments in the UK's response to the pandemic to specific timeframes around which life might return to some level of normality, particularly when linking it to how confident consumers could be when making purchasing decisions.
“The specific references to Easter and summer holidays directly linked the rollout of the vaccine to the implication that many people who wished to go on holiday during those periods would be able to do so as a direct result of being vaccinated.
“At a time when consumers were nervous about booking holidays, we considered that the clear link made in the ads between the vaccine rollout and being able to holiday at Easter or summer 2021 provided reassurance to viewers that they could feel confident about booking flights, because they would be vaccinated by the time of their holiday.
“We considered that based on the information available at the time it was clear that it was highly unlikely that societal groups outside of phase one of the rollout would be maximally protected in time to holiday in either summer or Easter 2021.
“We therefore concluded that the implication in the ads that most people who wished to go on holiday at Easter or summer 2021 would be vaccinated in time to do so, and that being vaccinated against Covid-19 would allow people to go on holiday without restrictions during those periods, was misleading.”
He continued: “Many complainants also raised concerns that the ads, and particularly the claim 'Jab and go' implied that individuals would be able to obtain a vaccine 'on demand' in order to go on holiday, and that maximal protection could be achieved immediately after one dose of vaccine.
“We considered the ads could encourage people to behave irresponsibly once vaccinated.
“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.
“For those reasons, we concluded the ad was irresponsible.”
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