Ryanair Forced To Remove Irresponsible ‘Jab And Go’ Advert
Ryanair has been forced to remove its ‘jab and go’ travel advert after it became the third most complained about advert of all time.
The advert, which ran from December to January, encouraged holidaymakers to book Easter and summer holidays with the budget airline, with images and footage showing scenes of people in their 20s and 30s gathered in groups and enjoying the holiday destinations.
It followed the rollout of the coronavirus vaccine at the start of December and implied that people could travel immediately after receiving their vaccine – or ‘jab and go’.
The ad seemingly dismissed the fact that the rollout is a mammoth, months-long undertaking and that recipients require two doses of the vaccine before being fully immunised, as well as the fact that otherwise healthy 20- and 30-year-olds will likely be among the last to receive the jab.
Audiences hit back at the irresponsible advert, with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) saying it had received 2,370 complaints from people who felt it implied most of the UK population would be able to travel unaffected by coronavirus regulations by summer 2021.
Other respondents expressed belief that the advert trivialised ongoing restrictions and effects of the pandemic, Sky News reports, though Ryanair said it was meant to be ‘uplifting’ and that it did not consider the content to be insensitive to those personally affected by the virus.
The ASA ordered the removal of the advert, stating: ‘We told Ryanair DAC to ensure their ads did not mislead viewers about the impact that COVID-19 vaccines would have on their ability to travel abroad during Easter and Summer 2021, and to ensure their ads did not encourage irresponsible behaviour.’
In response to the complaints, Ryanair urged people to take into account ‘important contextual factors’ when considering the advert, including awareness around the national vaccination programme and ever-changing restrictions on international travel.
Amid this ongoing third national lockdown, Brits can ‘only travel internationally where you first have a legally permitted reason to leave home.’
The budget flight company pointed out that it made no specific claims about who would receive the vaccines, when or how they would be administered or how long it would take for people to become fully protected.
It also referenced the government’s ‘optimistic’ briefings about the vaccine rollout, expressing belief that they implied a significant proportion of the population would be vaccinated midway through the year.
The ASA determined that audiences could be ‘confused or uncertain’ about booking holidays due to the ‘complex and constantly evolving’ situation, stressing the importance of advertisers being ‘cautious’.
However, despite admitting that some viewers may have found the ad ‘distasteful’, it said it was unlikely to have caused widespread offence.
If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected]