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Ryanair ad is upheld by ASA

Ryanair ad is upheld by ASA

Following Ryanair being served an ultimatum by the Advertising Standards Authority it will be a relief for the airline to see one of their ads upheld by the watchdog.
So far five Ryanair ads have been banned this year – with four bans in five months alone – and the ASA threatening to take the airline to the Office of Fair Trading.

The latest ad to be brought before the ASA ran in the in the Belfast Telegraph and was headlined "Low fares finally in Belfast!"

It showed a photograph of Sinn Fein politicians Martin McGuinness and Gerry Adams being interviewed by the press.  A speech bubble from Martin McGuinness's mouth, read "Ryanair’s fares are so low even the British Army flew home.”

Four complainants - including a member of the Northern Ireland Assembly (NIA), Michael Copeland - objected that the ad trivialised and mocked the role of the British Army in Northern Ireland and believed it was likely to cause serious offence and distress to the families of British soldiers who were killed serving in Northern Ireland.

They also said the ad trivialised Northern Ireland's recent past and political circumstances.

Mr Copeland and a member of the public argued the image of Sinn Fein politicians and the reference to the British Army, was likely to cause serious offence and distress to the families of people who had been killed during terrorist campaigns in Northern Ireland.

Ryanair defended their position, explaining that the ad was topical, because of the recent press coverage of the British Army regiments, based in mainland Britain, that were leaving their position in Northern Ireland after being stationed there for several years.

The Belfast Telegraph said they regretted that complaints had been received, but that they believed the ad was not offensive and should be viewed as a jocular comment on the changed political environment of Northern Ireland. 

The ASA acknowledged that the complainants had found the nature of the ad “tasteless”.

They added however that most readers would understand the use of the picture of the two well-known Sinn Fein politicians and the reference to the British Army as “a light-hearted reference” to the recent withdrawal of troops from Northern Ireland.

The ad, they ruled, was “unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence, or cause distress” to most readers of the Belfast Telegraph.

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