Welcome to Clearcast airways, your fastest way to ad clearance bliss. Make sure your seat back is up, your tray table is stowed and your electronic devices are put to one side for a moment. Relax with us for the next few minutes, pay close attention to your clearance steward’s safety notices and then you’ll be in holiday advertising heaven.
Is Your Holiday What You Booked?
Let’s start with the simple stuff. What you see should be what you get. This applies across all aspects of holidays (and other advertising categories to boot), covering transport, accommodation, activities and more besides.
Looking at flights for example, if an airline shows plenty of legroom, fully reclining seats or even beds, customers could be forgiven for thinking that booking via that airline will get them this kind of nirvana-like travel experience. If the visuals are of a particular class of seating and aren’t standard for all booked tickets then this must be made clear with superimposed text.
Do the surroundings of the hotel match those shown in the ad? It would be a nasty surprise to step off the airport transfer bus to find that the gleaming hotel set in luxurious gardens that was booked is, in actuality, a peeling monolith surrounded by construction. If there are minor changes then it’s nothing to worry about – a tree removed or planted here and there for example – but anything that may have meaningfully affected a consumer’s decision to book the advertised hotel should be accurate.
How about the amenities? From the aircon to the pool to the tiki-themed cocktail bar, if it’s mentioned or shown in the ad then it should be available for all. If there are limitations they must be made clear. For example, a company with a portfolio of holiday villas can show a villa with a pool even if it’s only the majority of villas that have them, but this should be flagged up in the ad.
The holiday costs how much?!
Pricing of flights and holidays is fiercely competitive. If you’re planning on advertising bargain prices make sure any limitations are clear. If you’ve got 10,000 seats at a particular price they’re likely to sell quickly. To make sure the ad doesn’t mislead about the availability of the price, include the date that the claim was accurate on in the superimposed text. If the seats all go then it’s time to pull the ad – advertising a price consumers can’t get is a quick road to complaints and an ASA investigation.
Another popular message is something along the lines of ‘Holidays from £399’. The ASA sees ‘from’ claims as acceptable if 10%+ of the advertised holidays are available at the stated price. So if you’ve got 5000 holidays to sell and 500 of them are £399 then you’re in the clear. This is usually a price claim based on a particular time period. If that’s the case then holidays at the advertised price should be evenly spread throughout.
The price stated in an ad should be the price consumers pay. If there are extra costs involved, for example for particular types of credit card, then this should be stated in the superimposed text. Also, if a price is based on two people sharing, which is frequently the case, this must be clear.
Package holidays and cruises often like to make claims about all of the things which are included in the price. There’s a very important distinction between something being ‘free’ and it being ‘included.’ The ASA has written a help note on this very topic so I’ll let them explain it!
The visuals can be important in giving a sense of what’s included too. Seeing people paying for things, drinks on a river cruise, for example will help allay expectations that everything is included in the price.
Three weird old holiday tips you’ll never believe
I won’t try and cover every eventuality here, but there are three additional points worth bearing in mind. These crop up fairly frequently so will save a great deal of headaches for both you and us.
Booze and water don’t mix. Well ok, in a glass they mix just fine, but that’s not the point. Showing or implying someone drinking alcohol while in a hot tub, about to go in the sea or pool is likely to be a problem.
Burying people in sand is a tricky one. If it looks like the (willing) victim is able to get out very easily then all may be well. If they are a little more deeply buried then there’s a strong chance of a scheduling restriction. This is quite subjective so if you’re planning on including this in the visuals it’s well worth having a chat with your contact here to get a steer.
If the holiday is ATOL certified that’s fab. If you don’t mention it in the script but add it in when you submit the video then that’s less fab. It might hold the clearance process up while we ask for substantiation, so please make sure it’s in the script from the get-go.
And that’s it, we’ve landed safe and sound. Please take a moment to make sure your ad has all the necessary supers as unattended claims may be unacceptable. We hope you enjoy your time with us.