Ryanair rapped over ‘misleading’ Covid ads
The ASA received 2,370 complaints about the advertising campaign, which included images of medical vials and a voiceover stating that “Covid vaccines are coming” with the possibility of being able to “jab and go” overseas this year.
The complaints body investigated three issues raised against the campaign; that the ads suggested the majority of the adult population would be vaccinated by the summer, that they trivialised the impact of the pandemic and restrictions, and that the ads were irresponsible.
It upheld two of the claims, but argued that Ryanair had not trivialised the pandemic itself.
Ryanair defended the campaign, arguing that “viewers would understand the ads envisaged a hypothetical Easter or summer holiday” and that they were “uplifting” as they encouraged people to think of a brighter future.
The ASA did not agree however, ruling that 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”.
It also found that the ads could encourage people to behave irresponsibly once vaccinated “which in the short term could expose them to the risk of serious illness, and in the longer term might result in them spreading the virus”.
The ads cannot be broadcast again in their current form, while Ryanair has been warned to ensure its ads do not mislead people about the impact of vaccines on their ability to travel this year, nor encourage irresponsible behaviour.
However, Ryanair has hit back against 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.”