Ryanair has been forced suspend its ‘jab and go’ advertising campaign after a ruling from the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).
The airline called the ruling “baseless” and said it “disagrees” with the decision, although it will comply and retract the ads.
The campaign was launched by the low-cost carrier over the Christmas period, with a TV advert first airing on Boxing Day.
Featuring a small bottle labelled ‘vaccine’ and a syringe, the advert told the public: “Covid vaccines are coming so book your Easter and summer holidays today with Ryanair.”
The ASA said it received more than 1,600 complaints about the advert.
Some argued it was misleading to suggest the vaccine would be rolled out by the spring and that travel restrictions would be over.
Consumers also complained that the advert trivialised the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on society.
The watchdog upheld the complaints, saying it was “likely that consumers would interpret the phrase ‘vax and go’/‘jab and go’ as an unequivocal endorsement of vaccinating and travelling unconditionally”.
Ryanair said it “respectfully disagrees” with the decision, arguing the advert is both factual and accurate.
The carrier argued the “baseless claims” that the ASA have used in their determination now mean that all advertising by airlines, tour operators and travel agents for travel or holidays this Easter and summer should also be banned.
A Ryanair spokesperson added: “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 and go’ adverts will not run again.”