A brochure, by the Israeli Government Tourist Office, in a national newspaper, was titled “Israel Land of Creation”. Text on the fourth page of the brochure stated “TOP 20 enjoy THE RIDE Full of flavour, colour, history and a whole lot of fun, Israel has it all ...”. Further text stated "1 OLD CITY, JERUSALEM BY DAY Everyone falls for the Old City, with its narrow (and car-free) alleys, teeming pilgrims and bazaar-like buzz. Here you can see many of the religious sites, including the Western (Wailing) Wall and Stations of the Cross. Top it all off with a falafel for lunch in one of the many piazzas". The ad featured a photograph with the caption "... Dramatic sky over Jerusalem ...”.
The complainant, who understood the Old City of Jerusalem was in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, challenged whether the ad misleadingly implied the Old City of Jerusalem was internationally recognised as part of Israel.
The Israeli Government Tourist Office (IGTO) said the brochure made clear a distinction between Israel and the Occupied Territories and believed the ad needed to be considered in that context. They said the reference to the Old City of Jerusalem was accompanied by a photograph of Jerusalem that included the Dome of the Rock. They believed the accompanying text did not imply that East Jerusalem and the Old City of Jerusalem formed part of the State of Israel.
IGTO said the issue surrounding sovereignty over Jerusalem was widely known to the British public. They said the ad did not seek to make a political statement and believed it would be inappropriate for it to do so. Rather, they believed the leaflet provided practical information that made clear that visitors to the places referred to in the ad, such as the Old City of Jerusalem, could only be visited via travelling to Israel.
THIS RULING REPLACES THAT PUBLISHED ON 4 MARCH 2015. THE VERDICT HAS CHANGED, MAKING THE COMPLAINT NOT UPHELD.
The ASA noted the brochure was aimed at encouraging people to visit the destinations and attractions it highlighted. The brochure was titled “Israel Land of Creation” and text on the fourth page stated “Israel has it all” and was accompanied by a photograph of Jerusalem. In that context, we considered readers would understand the ad to mean that the Old City of Jerusalem was internationally recognised as part of Israel. However, we understood that the status of the territories in question was the subject of much international dispute.
Whilst for the avoidance of any doubt it would be preferable if the advertiser made this more explicit in the future, we noted that the ad appeared in a brochure in a national broadsheet newspaper and we considered the average consumer to whom the ad was directed was likely to be aware that the status of the territories in question was the subject of much international dispute. However, we considered the average consumer was likely to want to visit the Old City of Jerusalem for the attractions it offered and we understood that they could visit the Old City of Jerusalem via Israel.
The Code defined a transactional decision as “… any decision taken by a consumer, whether it is to act or not act, about whether, how and on what terms to buy, pay in whole or in part for, retain or dispose of a product or whether, how and on what terms to exercise a contractual right in relation to a product.” We considered the presentation of the ad was not likely to mislead consumers into taking a transactional decision that they would otherwise not have taken in relation to visiting the Old City of Jerusalem.
Readers for whom the disputed status of the territories was a significant issue that would affect their decision to visit were likely to be aware of the dispute and were therefore not likely to be misled into taking a transactional decision that they would not otherwise have taken.
For the reasons given, the ad did not breach the Code.
We investigated the ad under CAP Code (Edition 12) rules
Marketing communications must not materially mislead or be likely to do so.
Marketing communications must not mislead the consumer by omitting material information. They must not mislead by hiding material information or presenting it in an unclear, unintelligible, ambiguous or untimely manner.
Material information is information that the consumer needs to make informed decisions in relation to a product. Whether the omission or presentation of material information is likely to mislead the consumer depends on the context, the medium and, if the medium of the marketing communication is constrained by time or space, the measures that the marketer takes to make that information available to the consumer by other means. (Misleading advertising) but did not find it to be in breach.
No further action necessary.