TUI ad banned for advertising ‘summer holidays’ in October

Complainant questioned whether travel dates in September and October fell within usual summer holiday period

Caitlin Morrison
Wednesday 22 August 2018 08:14 BST
Simon Calder explains the travel industry's misery, as Summer 2018 holiday prices tumble

An ad for travel company TUI has been banned for promoting “summer holidays” over dates in September and October.

The TV advert, which was seen on 3 June, featured a voiceover 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.”

Accompanying onscreen text referred to “departures between 01/09/2018 and 31/10/2018 flying from selected airports”.

The Advertising Standards Authority said it received a complaint from someone “who understood that the departure dates were not during summer holiday period”.

In response, TUI said their summer holiday period runs from 1 April to 31 October, and that the reference to summer holidays in the ad was to convey that the offer was available during that period. The company added that the ad showed both adult-only groups as well as families.

The ASA said that because the ad 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”.

While the watchdog said it acknowledged that the ad featured adult-only, as well as family, groups, it “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 ASA said.

TUI was told the ad must not appear again in its current form. A spokesperson for the company said: “We note the ASA’s ruling and can confirm that we’ve already taken action to amend this advert for future use.”

Ironically, in June TUI was offering holidays to Turkey for far less than the £279 claimed. As The Independent reported, during the World Cup a week’s holiday from Manchester to Marmaris was being sold for just £117.

Geraint Lloyd-Taylor, deputy head of the advertising & marketing sector at law firm Lewis Silkin, said: “As far as I’m aware, in the UK the summer officially ends on Sunday 23 September – and that’s soon enough. For many of us, especially those of us without kids, we’ll be taking our ‘summer’ holidays in September when the temperatures (and prices) across continental Europe and other parts of the northern hemisphere have cooled a little.

“I’m sure the average British consumer won’t be too pleased that the ASA has decided to redefine the seasons for us all, and that they’re calling time a little early on this wonderful summer. Admittedly, for most Brits, describing October as a summer month is probably pushing it, and it might be considered materially misleading. However, if it was clear from the overall context that the ad referred to a travel period of September-October (having not seen the ad, I can’t say with certainty), then I have some sympathy with the argument that the ad probably wouldn’t materially mislead the average consumer.

“TUI could have described Sept-Oct as ‘late summer early Autumn’ in their ad, but it doesn’t exactly trip off the tongue.”

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