Ryanair, never one to avoid controversy, has been reprimanded by UK authorities for a controversial “jab & go” ad campaign. The Irish budget carrier has reluctantly conceded it will cease and desist the campaign.
Ryanair “Jab & Go” Ad Campaign Ruled Offensive And Misleading
On Boxing Day, Ryanair began a new ad campaign aimed at enticing passengers to book their spring and summer travel early. One ad said, “Covid vaccines are coming so book your Easter and summer holidays today with Ryanair.” Another said “jab & go” in large letters with the following message:
“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 United Kingdom’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) received over 1,600 complaints about the new ad campaign and has now told Ryanair that the ad campaign is misleading and must be terminated.
Particularly, it emphasized that the ads made it “likely that consumers would interpret the phrase ‘vax and go’/‘jab and go’ as an unequivocal endorsement of vaccinating and travelling unconditionally.” It further added that such ad campaign was “offensive and irresponsible” and “trivializes the effect of the pandemic on individuals and society.”
Ryanair has criticized the ruling but said it will comply:
“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.”
Mission accomplished for Ryanair. Its ad campaign stirred widespread publicity, got the message out, and likely led to a lot of bookings. While Ryanair does not earn a lot of respect with stunts like this, it certainly earns free air time, which it probably views as more valuable when it translates to more bookings.