Low cost airline Ryanair in ads battle
[9th April 2008]
The battle between budget airline Ryanair and the Advertising Standards Authority is hotting up as the ASA counter-refers Ryanair to the OFT.
Ryanair said on Monday that it was reporting the ASA to the Office of Fair Trading for what it called "unfair procedures, bias and factually untrue rulings" in the ASAs judgments against seven of its adverts over the past two years.
Now the ASA has countered by taking the highly unusual step of referring Ryanair to the OFT. Formal referrals to the OFT by the ASA are rare, the most recent being in 2005, and are only made once it has been established that an advertiser is unable to work within the rules, the ASA says in a press statement.
Through misleadingness and unfair comparisons Ryanair has repeatedly breached the CAP Non-broadcast Advertising Code, which is designed to protect consumers and promote fair competition. Over a two-year period the ASA has formally investigated complaints about Ryanairs advertisements and found them in breach on seven occasions. Separately, the ASA has also found Ryanair in breach of the Broadcast TV Advertising Standards Code, the press statement continues.
The ASAs most recent ruling was against Ryanairs 2 million seats from £10 including taxes and charges advertisement. The advertising regulator ruled the ad was misleading because Ryanair was unable to prove that £10 travel was available on all the quoted days in sufficient quantities.
It is very disappointing, but absolutely necessary, that we have had to take this course of action. The ASA has given Ryanair every opportunity to put its house in order and ensure that its advertising adheres to the Codes. Instead, they have continued to mislead consumers and denigrate competitors. We would prefer to work with advertisers within the self-regulatory system rather than call in a statutory body, but Ryanairs approach has left us with no option but to refer them to the OFT who will consider appropriate action, explains Director General of the ASA, Christopher Graham.
Written by: Nick Purdom
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