An advert for budget airline Ryanair has been banned by the UK’s advertising watchdog after it made misleading and unfair comparisons with online travel agent Lastminute.com. The advert broke rules on truthfulness and comparative advertising.
The ad appeared in the national press, headlined “Robbed by Lastminute.com?” It showed a picture of a burglar with “ONLINE AGENT” written on his top. Lastminute.com complained to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) that the ad was misleading and, together with the cartoon robber, “denigrated and discredited” its business.
Ryanair denied the claims. It argued that Lastminute.com was not authorised to sell its flights and that, in selling Ryanair flights, Lastminute.com was in clear breach of the conditions for use of Ryanair.com, which restricts use to “private non-commercial purposes.” Ryanair also accused Lastminute.com of inflating the prices without consent and without informing passengers.
The ASA said that Ryanair failed to provide evidence to show that Lastminute.com overcharged customers and had therefore not substantiated the claim “Robbed by Lastminute.com?”
“We concluded that the claim in conjunction with the image of a robber misleadingly and unfairly discredited Lastminute’s business,” said the ruling, published today.
How remarkable that Ryanair should do something which should be ruled misleading. Also at Out-law.com:
- Ryanair’s Eurostar claims are misleading, says ads watchdog, 22/08/2007
- Airlines’ wings clipped over misleading pricing, 10/08/2007
- Ryanair agrees to give fairer contract terms, 18/10/2006
Oh, my. I’m going to have to lie down in a darkened room. Well, it is night time.