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Product: Holiday Competition
Advertiser: Classic Hits
Medium: Internet (Company Website)
ASAI Code 7th Edition: 2.4(c), 3.2, 3.3, 4.1, 4.4, 4.9 4.10
A competition which appeared on the advertisers’ website to win flights to Tel Aviv, invited entrants to
Begin your exciting journey to Israel …Fly [XXX] to Israel for as little as €319, from May 2020.
And included the following statement under a montage including a picture of the Armenian Walls in the Old City (Jerusalem)
Enjoy a sunset on Tel Aviv beach, tour the historic city of Jerusalem or float in the dead sea.
The complainant considered the image of the Old City (of Jerusalem), specifically the Walls of the Armenian Quarter, when taken alongside the text "Fly [XXX] to Israel for as little as €319, from May 2020. Enjoy a sunset on Tel Aviv beach, tour the historic city of Jerusalem or float in the dead sea." was clearly intended to convey that Jerusalem's Old City was part of Israel, and not an “occupied and illegally colonised area”. He said that this was universally recognised as such in International Law, and by the UN Security Council, by the UN General Assembly, by the European Union, by the Irish Government, and by all major human rights organisations.
The advertisers said that the complainant had referred to an article published on the Classic Hits website that had highlighted a prize that was available via an on-air competition on the station's breakfast show during the week of the 18th to 22nd November 2019.
The on-air promotion referred to in the article offered the prize of return flights from Dublin to Tel Aviv (Ben Gurion Airport) with El Al Airlines. El Al Airlines had provided two nights hotel accommodation in Tel Aviv as part of the prize.
The article and website in general had been aimed at a general Irish audience (adults in the 35-54 year old category), and in particular at listeners to the Classic Hits service.
The article, by way of providing information on that week's breakfast show competition, had highlighted a number of activities that a prize winner could potentially engage in whilst on their trip to the region. Activities/Attractions in the general area included The Red Sea (4 hr drive approx), The Dead Sea (2.5hr drive approx) and Jerusalem (48min drive approx). Appropriate pictures had been used to support this.
In relation to the issues raised by the complainant, the advertisers said that the article had made no reference to the nationality of the activities/attractions featured. They disputed that the use of the image in the article had been clearly intended to convey that the Old City was part of any particular country other than being a tourist attraction in the region. It had never been intended to imply that any area mentioned was in a particular (political) jurisdiction. They said the on-going dispute in relation to Jerusalem, which had been well documented over a number of decades had not been highlighted in the article and they considered that it would be unreasonable to expect these issues to be covered in such an article.
In conclusion, the advertisers said that Irish travellers seeking holiday options in the region outlined in their advertising would find a similar approach taken by many travel company operated websites. They said that these travel sites and articles did not deal with the geopolitical issues of the destinations highlighted. They said their article had been honest and truthful in relation to the breakfast show, the prize on offer and the details of the prize.
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaint and the advertisers’ response.
The Committee acknowledged that it had not been the advertisers’ intention to imply that any area mentioned in their advertising was in a particular (political) jurisdiction. The advertisement had included the statement “Begin your exciting journey to Israel …” and featured a number of destinations, including Jerusalem and its Old City Walls. It had not stated that the destinations were all in Israel. However, given the invitation to “journey to Israel”, without clarification, the implication was that the featured destinations were all in Israel. As the Old City was not recognised by the international community as forming part of Israel, the Committee considered that the reference to “begin your exciting journey to Israel” was likely to mislead and was in breach of Sections 4.1 and 4.4 of the Code.
As the competition was closed, no further action was required in this case. The Committee, however, reminded all advertisers of the importance of clarity when referencing destinations.