Ain’t no sunshine in September

ASA rule June, July and August are British summer months

August 2018

Holiday agent Tui’s advert for the “perfect summer holiday” in September and October has been deemed misleading to consumers.

The Advertising Standards Agency have ruled that consumers are unlikely to consider a holiday in the period between 1 September to 31 October (the “Relevant Time Period”) as a “summer holiday”. Tui’s advert was aired on 3 June in which a voice over 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 advert included the Relevant Time Period within the on-screen text which subsequently lead one consumer to complain that the departure dates were not during the summer holiday period.

In response, Tui argued that their summer holiday period runs from 1 April to 31 October which includes the Relevant Time Period and that the advert itself feature both families and adult-only holiday makers. Conversely, the ASA stated that the feature of families was in fact misleading. They ruled that consumers would interpret the term “summer holidays” to mean the calendar months of June, July and August – which are commonly referred to as summer months and include the school holiday period. As the offer was not available in the summer months the ASA concluded that the advert was in fact misleading.

TUI were told that the advert must not appear again in its current form adding “we told Tui UK 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”. Tui have confirmed that they are taking action to amend the advert for future use.

This ruling demonstrates:

  1. it only takes one consumer to make a complaint to the ASA for an advert to be reviewed, deemed a breach of the ASA Code and subsequently banned from use; and
  2. when making generic statements it is important to consider the general consumer understanding of such statements.

This update was prepared by HGF IP Solicitor Liz Cooper.  If you would like further advice on this or any other matter please contact Liz or your usual HGF representative, alternatively visit our Contact Page to get in touch with your nearest HGF office.