- Ryanair’s “jab & go!” ads held to be misleading and irresponsible
Ryanair’s “jab & go!” ads held to be misleading and irresponsible
Ryanair’s “jab & go!” ads held to be misleading and irresponsible19th February 2021 - Published by Kuits Intellectual Property Team
The UK’s regulator of advertising, the Advertising Authority (ASA), has ruled that TV ads for Ryanair that were shown between 26 December 2020 and 4 January 2021 were misleading and irresponsible, following 2370 complaints.
Featuring images of a syringe, the adverts stated “COVID vaccines are coming. So book your Easter and summer holidays today with Ryanair… So you could jab and go!”. Groups of people in their 20s and 30s were shown enjoying holidays without any apparent restrictions and large text appeared on screen which said “JAB & GO!”.
What were the complaints?
The complaints were split into three issues that were considered by the ASA. The first was whether the ads were misleading by implying that most of the UK population would be vaccinated against COVID- 19 by Easter or summer 2021 and that this would mean they could go on holiday without restrictions. The ASA upheld this complaint determining that the key message of the ads was that people could feel confident about booking a holiday as they would be vaccinated by Easter or summer 2021 and that this would enable them to go on holiday without restriction. In fact, at the time the adverts were broadcast it was highly unlikely that the groups depicted, people in their 20s and 30s, would be vaccinated by Easter or summer 2021, and it was also misleading to suggest that once vaccinated people would be able to go on holiday without restriction.
The second issue was whether the adverts downplayed the need to vaccinate medically vulnerable people or was insensitive to people who had lost loved ones during the pandemic. This complaint was not upheld and the ASA determined that the adverts were unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.
The third complaint was that it was implied from the adverts that people would be able to get vaccines “on demand” before going on holiday, which may encourage people who were not eligible for a vaccine to contact their GP or other NHS services at a time when these services were already under huge strain. The ASA upheld this complaint, concluding that the ads were irresponsible.
The message from the ASA is clear; advertisers need to behave responsibly and cautiously when implying a specific timeframe, in relation to the COVID pandemic, in which life will return to normal in order to influence how confident consumers can be in making purchasing decisions.