Lifestyle & Belief

Britain: Ryanair bikini ad ruled misleading


Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary poses for photographers after a press conference in Marignane near Marseille-Provence airport, southern France, on February 1, 2011.


Gerard Julien

A budget European airline has been ordered to halt ads featuring a bikini-clad model and the promise of spring sunshine after most of the destinations on offer had maximum temperatures under 50 degrees (10 Celsius).

Dublin-based airline Ryanair ran a national press campaign promoting cheap tickets in February and March urging readers to book "flights to the sun" the Guardian reports.

Their ads featured a model in a bikini, lying on a beach and sipping a cocktail.

Britain's Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) received a complaint that the campaign was misleading because none of the 11 destinations on offer would be warm in February or March.

Destinations included Glasgow in Scotland, Oslo in Norway, Aarhus and Bilund in Denmark, and Frankfurt, Hamburg and Dusseldorf in Germany, the Daily Mail reports.

The ASA said that the maximum temperatures for the majority of the destinations were between 42 and 48 degrees. The warmest three averaged 51 and 57 degrees while the coldest, Oslo, managed 32 and 39 degrees.

"We considered that the average consumer would infer from the claim 'Book to the sun now' and the image of the woman sunbathing, in a bikini, with a cocktail, that the promotion included fares to destinations warm enough to sunbathe in swimwear during the promotional period," the advertising watchdog's ruling said.

"Because we understood this was not the case, we concluded that the ad was misleading." 

The Irish airline will not be allowed to run such adverts again. Ryanair said it "noted" the ruling, according to the BBC.

The ruling came after Ryanair reportedly complained about the "We charge you less" promotion being run by arch-rival budget airline easyJet, which was also slammed by the watchdog.

The easyJet offer, for business fares, sparked anger from Ryanair, which insisted that its fares were cheaper on a number of routes.

Ryanair's objection was upheld and its rival was ordered not to run the advertisement again in its current form.