ASA bans Ryanair ad attacking Lastminute.com
LONDON - The Advertising Standards Authority has once again locked horns with its most familiar adversary, the no-frills airline Ryanair, by banning a poster ad attacking Lastminute.com.
Less than three months after the ad watchdog censured a Ryanair poster campaign, which attacked Gordon Brown's decision to increase air passenger tax, the airline has been banned from repeating another poster in its current form.
The national press ad featured the headline, "robbed by Lastminute.com?", alongside a cartoon of a burglar with "online agent" written on his top.
The poster did not attract any complaints from members of the public, but received strong objections from Lastminute.com.
The online travel operator said the ad "denigrated and discredited their business". Lastminute.com also made specific complaints about claims in the Ryanair poster, such as accusations they overcharge, don't provide the correct terms and conditions and don't notify customer of changes to flight schedules.
The ASA launched an investigation into Lastminute.com's complaints and found in favour of the website on four separate points.
The ad watchdog said that Ryanair's assertion that Lastminute.com overcharged was unfair, on the basis that the airline was making a comparison of prices in Ireland in an ad that ran in the UK.
The ASA also said Ryanair's "robbed" headline "discredited" Lastminute.com's business, and found that the website's notification procedure did not appear to differ significantly from the Ryanair system.
The ASA ruled the "ad should not appear in its current form".
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