Ryanair has now withdrawn the airline’s controversial “jab and go” COVID travel advertisements after backlash from thousands to officials.
The low-cost carrier caused a big stir last year when the “Jab and Go” campaign first debuted in late 2020. The ads gave some the false impression that the vaccine rollout would make travel restrictions a mute point by the time the 2021 vacation season rolled around. Michael O’Leary’s budget airline was promoting using ad texts like:
“One million seats on sale from 19.99 (pounds, $A35.44) to sunshine destinations in Spain, Italy, Portugal, Greece, and many more, so you could ‘Jab & Go’.”
The budget airline beckoned bookings with catchy wording like “Summer in Portugal, vaccines are coming”, as suggested by the Tweet below.
JAB & GO oh my god Ryanair really are riding this wave pic.twitter.com/01Lt9RKgsU— Lauren Robertson (@laurenroberston) January 6, 2021
Media reported the Advertising Standards Authority of the United Kingdom (ASA) confirming having attracted about 1600 complaints over the tasteless and misleading ads. Some critics called the ads “tasteless”, while others pointed out the misleading nature of suggesting restrictions might not apply by summer of 2021.
Finally, the ASA ordered Ryanair to pull the campaign on the grounds that it “consumers would interpret the phrase ‘vax and go’/‘jab and go’ as an unequivocal endorsement of vaccinating and travelling unconditionally”.