Ryanair boss O'Leary hits back at ASA 'idiots'

By Loulla-Mae Eleftheriou-Smith, marketingmagazine.co.uk, Wednesday, 29 February 2012 08:22AM

Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary has said he will not stop using images of women from the airline's infamous charity calendar in marketing activity, despite the latest ad ban by the ASA.

Ryanair's annual charity calendar, which features images of the airline's female cabin crew in their underwear or swimwear, will be rolled out again in 2013.

And when asked by Marketing at a press conference yesterday if he will continue to run advertising using the calendar girls he said "absolutely".

O'Leary said: "We will be running ads next year featuring exclusive snaps from the 2013 charity calendar. We will run them in newspapers and newspapers will be happy to take them.

"I don't know how else we can sell a charity calendar unless we advertise a photograph of what's in the charity calendar."

O'Leary thanked the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for its ruling against two press ads for the airline's low fares, which featured images of women in their underwear taken directly from the calendar.

He claimed that the ruling "serves to confirm yet again what a bunch of complete idiots the ASA are".

The ads received 17 complaints and were banned by the watchdog, calling them "likely to cause widespread offence". The calendar itself received more than 8,000 complaints when it was first published.

O'Leary countered that the airline sent the ASA copies of women's magazines Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire and Vogue, claiming that the publications showed images of girls "in their knickers" advertising perfume, with similar images to advertise pots and pans.

He said: "[The ASA] have done more to generate pre-publicity for our 2013 calendar than even photographs of me stripping off into my swimwear, and we look forward to rolling out the 2013 calendar sometime around the end of October this year."

Video produced by Sarah Johnson

Follow Loulla-Mae Eleftheriou-Smith on Twitter @LoullaMae_ES

This article was first published on marketingmagazine.co.uk

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