Published on : Wednesday, January 4, 2017
The advertisement watchdog, Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) recently banned TV advertisements of Ryanair and LastMinute.com for misleading their customers to buy flight tickets and holiday packages, by making false promises. Two separate advertisements of the two companies forced several people to lodge separate complaints against both of them.
The Ryanair TV advert in question was seen in October 2016, where the ad breached three of the broadcasting rules. The text on the screen was the most controversial one, where the text ‘Summer 2017 on sale now’ could be seen immediately after ‘Fly from £19.99’, even though the airline did not mention that the offer was not applicable for the summer flights.
The CEO of the airline, Michael O’Leary informed that the text ‘Summer 2017’ appeared at the end of the ad, separately. He also informed that they also added a disclaimer on-screen, stating that the offer is applicable for the flights before April 2017.
According to ASA, the text of the advert was ‘ambiguous’ and the customers could easily think that the summer flights were available in exchange of fares starting from £19.99.
ASA informed that while they noted that the £19.99 offer was qualified by small text stating the start and end dates for the promotion, they considered that, given the conjunction of the offer with the claim ‘Summer 2017 on sale now’, the qualification was not sufficiently prominent to correct the overall impression that summer 2017 flights were included in the sale.
Similarly, the advertisement of LastMinute.com, which got published on their website in September, 2016, promised ‘£569 Price per person Flight + hotel’ to their customers.
After a traveller tried to book the package from the website and was asked to pay additional £70.77 as the advertised price was unavailable, she decided to lodge a complaint to ASA.
ASA informed that approximately an hour after making a booking request for the package at the quoted price, the complainant was informed that the price had increased and they would need to pay an additional sum of £70.77 in order to maintain the booking.