A TV ad for TUI holidays, seen on 3 June 2018, featured a voice-over which stated, "It's not too late to discover Turkey with TUI from £279 per person this summer ... Perfect summer holidays that put you in the middle." On-screen text stated "Departures between 01/09/2018 and 31/10/2018 flying from selected airports".
The complainant, who understood that the departure dates were not during summer holiday period, challenged whether the ad was misleading.
TUI UK Ltd stated that their summer holiday period ran from 1 April to 31 October. They stated that the ad showed both adult-only groups as well as families, and that the reference to summer holidays in the ad was to convey that the offer was available during the aforementioned period.
Clearcast stated that all qualifying information was clearly spelt out in the ad. They stated that the first two weeks of departures were still within summer months, and that it would have been confusing to spell out that the offer covered summer and autumn.
The ASA considered that, in the context of an ad that showed family oriented groups, consumers would interpret the term “summer holidays” to mean holidays available for travel during the calendar months of June, July and August, which were all commonly referred to as summer months and which included the school holiday period.
We acknowledged TUI’s comments regarding their own summer holiday period and the use of both adult and family oriented groups within the ad. We also acknowledged Clearcast's comments that the first two weeks of departure were still within the astronomical summer period, which ran into September. However, we did not consider that a travel period of September and October only was likely to align with consumers’ understanding of the term in the context of the ad.
Because the offer was not available for travel during the summer months of June, July and August, we concluded that the ad was misleading.
The ad breached BCAP Code rules
The standards objectives, insofar as they relate to advertising, include:
a) that persons under the age of 18 are protected;
b) that material likely to encourage or incite the commission of crime or lead to disorder is not included in television and radio services;
c) that the proper degree of responsibility is exercised with respect to the content of programmes which are religious programmes;
d) that generally accepted standards are applied to the contents of television and radio services so as to provide adequate protection for members of the public from inclusion in such services of offensive and harmful material;
e) that the inclusion of advertising which may be misleading, harmful or offensive in television and radio services is prevented;
f) that the international obligations of the United Kingdom with respect to advertising included in television and radio services are complied with [in particular in respect of television those obligations set out in Articles 3b, 3e,10, 14, 15, 19, 20 and 22 of Directive 89/552/EEC (the Audi Visual Media Services Directive)];
g) that there is no use of techniques which exploit the possibility of conveying a message to viewers or listeners, or of otherwise influencing their minds, without their being aware, or fully aware, of what has occurred"
Section 319(2). 3.2 3.2 Advertisements must not mislead consumers 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 consumers need in context to make informed decisions about whether or how to buy a product or service. Whether the omission or presentation of material information is likely to mislead consumers depends on the context, the medium and, if the medium of the advertisement is constrained by time or space, the measures that the advertiser takes to make that information available to consumers by other means. (Misleading advertising) and 3.10 3.10 Advertisements must state significant limitations and qualifications. Qualifications may clarify but must not contradict the claims that they qualify. (Qualification).
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told TUI UK Ltd to ensure that their future advertising did not mislead by claiming to offer summer holidays if those holidays were outside of the period that consumers were likely to consider as summer.