Banned Ryanair Ad

February 17, 2012 by staff 

Banned Ryanair Ad, Ryanair ran two newspaper ads in the Guardian, Daily Telegraph and Independent featuring flight attendants in their underwear with the strapline: “Red hot fares & crew.”

The two flight attendants feature in February and March in the annual Ryanair charity calendar.

Ryanair, the Irish budget airline which has been referred to the Office of Fair Trading in the past over repeated breaches of the advertising code, was challenged over the ads by an online campaign led by an unnamed female flight attendant and signed by more than 11,000 people.

The Advertising Standards Authority received 17 complaints that the ad campaign was sexist, objectified cabin crew and was “offensive and unsuitable” to appear in a national newspaper.

Ryanair defended the campaign, arguing that because the ad used images taken from the charity calendar that the flight attendants had agreed to appear in, was not sexist and did not objectify women.

The ASA said that although the images were not overtly sexual the appearance, stance and gaze of the women were likely to be seen as sexually suggestive.

“We also considered that most readers would interpret these images, in conjunction with the text … and the names of the women, as linking female cabin crew with sexually suggestive behaviour,” the ASA said.

“Although we acknowledged that the women in the ads had consented to appear in the calendar, we considered that the ads were likely to cause widespread offence, when displayed in a national newspaper, and therefore concluded that they breached the [advertising] code.”

A Guardian News & Media spokeswoman explained said the ad appeared in the newspaper by accident after a “system breakdown” meant that it was not pre-vetted before it appeared.

“The advert in question – which also ran in other quality newspapers – appeared in some editions of the Guardian in error due to a systems breakdown that normally allows us to vet adverts before they are printed,” she added. “We regret that it caused offence to some of our readers and we apologised personally to those who complained about it at the time.”

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