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Watchdog Slaps Ryanair’s ‘Jab & Go’ Vaccine Commercial With a Television Ban

Watchdog Slaps Ryanair’s ‘Jab & Go’ Vaccine Commercial With a Television Ban

A Ryanair commercial that encouraged consumers to ‘Jab & Go’ with a COVID-19 vaccine has been banned by the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) over fears the ad would mislead viewers desperate for a foreign holiday in 2021. The ASA launched a formal investigation into the claims made in the ad after receiving more than 1,600 complaints from viewers.

“Covid vaccines are coming so book your Easter and summer holidays today with Ryanair,” the much-criticised commercial exclaimed. “One million seats on sale from £19.99 to sunshine destinations in Spain, Italy, Portugal, Greece and many more so you could jab and go,” the ad continued.

Viewers complained that the ad gave false hope to younger travellers who would be last to get vaccinated and therefore wouldn’t be able to travel abroad in the timescale that Ryanair suggested. Many other complaints concerned Ryanair apparently making light of the pandemic.

The commercial was first aired on British television on New Years Day just as a mass vaccination campaign got underway. The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) has so far vaccinated more than six million people but it could be September before every adult is offered the first dose of a vaccine.

The ASA 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 disagreed with the decision but would abide with the ruling. “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 & Go adverts will not run again,” a Ryanair spokesperson commented on Monday.

The airline said the commercial “is both factual and accurate.”

“Not only are vaccines coming but the UK Govt have confirmed that all high risk groups (over 70’s) and frontline healthcare workers will be vaccinated by mid-February, which gives UK customers more confidence to book for Easter and Summer, and if their travel plans change then no change fee applies,” Ryanair said in a statement.

The British government, however, is inching towards forcing all new arrivals into the country into mandatory hotel quarantine which would be at the passenger’s expense. A decision is likely to be made as early as Tuesday after government minister’s decided that the risk of new variant’s of the COVID-19 virus needed even tougher controls at the border.

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