Low cost airlines and fierce competitors Ryanair and EasyJet have both had adverts banned by the Advertising Standards Agency, for being misleading.
Ryanair was criticised for advertising ‘cheap flights to the sun’ that ended up being to rather cold destinations for the time of year. The advert included a picture of a lady in a bikini, wearing sunglasses and sipping a cocktail on the beach, with the slogan ‘Book to the sun now!’ Flights started from £8 and the period of the offer was February and March. One of the destinations offered was Oslo in Norway whose average temperature at that time of year is between 0°C and 4°C. Other routes offered included Glasgow, Londonderry, Aarhus and Bilund in Denmark, plus Frankfurt, Hamburg and Dusseldorf in Germany, none of which usually have temperatures above 9°C during the winter months.
The ASA ruled “We considered that the average consumer would infer from the claim ‘Book to the sun now’ and the image of the woman sunbathing, in a bikini, with a cocktail, that the promotion included fares to destinations warm enough to sunbathe in swimwear during the promotional period. Because we understood this was not the case, we concluded that the ad was misleading.”
EasyJet were warned following a complaint from rivals Ryanair that their advert ‘We charge you less’ was misleading because Ryanair prices were actually cheaper on some of the same routes.
In EasyJets defence they stated that this particular advert was to promote’ The new shape of business travel’ and was aimed at corporate travellers rather than leisure consumers and that numerous mentions of the word ‘business travel’ confirmed this. They also expressed surprise that Ryanair were showing concerns over the advert as they have never previously expressed interest in the business travel market.
The ASA once again ruled “We considered that the ad did not make clear the nature of the comparison being made in the claim ‘We charge you less’ and that, without further information, consumers would be unable to establish the circumstances in which EasyJet was claiming to be cheaper than other flights for business travel.”
Both companies were ordered to remove the adverts.