A TV ad for Tui Holidays has been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) after the travel brand marketed summer package holiday deals that were actually in October.
The spot, broadcast in June, advertised a range of holiday deals in Turkey, with departures avail;able between September and October. The ad 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.'
The holidays provider and the watchdog disagreed on the definition of 'summer', and whether consumers were being misled.
The ASA said that, since consumers would interpret the term ‘summer holidays’ to mean holidays available during June, July and August – the calendar months which include the British school holiday period – the ad was misleading.
Tui UK said that its summer holiday trading period ran from 1 April to 31 October, and noted that the first two weeks of the promotion fell within the astronomical summer period.
It also suggested that consumers would be flexible in their interpretation of summer, since the ad featured adult-only groups as well as families.
The Met Office defines meteorological summer as 1 June – 31 August, and astronomical summer as 21 June – 23 September.
Regardless, the ASA said: “Because the offer was not available for travel during the summer months of June,July and August, we concluded that the ad was misleading.”
Geraint Lloyd-Taylor, deputy head of the advertising and marketing team at law firm Lewis Silkin, said: “Admittedly, for most Brits, describing October as a summer month is probably pushing it, and it might be considered materially misleading.
“But 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.”
The ad must not appear again in its current form and Tui has been told by the watchdog to ensure that future ads do not mislead consumers by claiming to offer ‘summer holidays’ if those holidays were outside the traditional summer period.