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Advertising Rights Digest - Arm yourself with knowledge

Published on 12 May 2011


Kulula rapped over the knuckles by ASA
21 Apr 2010

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In an e-mail campaign Kulula offers "sale seats up for grabs"�. The ASA ruled on 8 April 2010 that this advertisement is misleading, should be withdrawn and should not be used again.

The Kulula advertisement launched by e-mail is headed, "Sale seats up for grabs!"� and offers various special airfares.

The advertisments states"�
"Fly to these great destinations between 1 February and 25 June 2010"�.
Jo"burg (O.R Tambo) <- - > Durbs
Jo"burh (Lanseria) < - - > Durbs
Cape Town < - - > PE
Durbs < - -> PE

These destinations are advertised at "R299 incl. taxes"�.

In essence, the complainant submitted that the advertisement is misleading as it does not state that the prices are only for one way trips. The arrows give an impression that these are return airfares.

Kulula responded that the sentence "Fly to these great destinations..."� implies that the offer is a "one way"� because it says "to"� and not "fly between"� or fly back and forth between these great destinations..."� The respondent submitted that the prices as advertised there indicate that the price is valid in either direction on that route. It added that the advertisement was sent to its database of more than a million subscribers and only one complaint was received. It is fair to say that it has been widely understood that the ticket prices are one way.

ASA ruled that:

"When confronted with the advertisement as a whole, including these arrows, a hypothetical reasonable person could reach at least two different conclusions:

1) The fare indicated would apply for a flight from "Jo"burg"�, for example, to "Durbs"�, or vice versa. This appears to be what the respondent intended.

or

2) The fare indicated would apply to a return flight between "Jo"burg"� for example and "Durbs"�,.

Given that either of these interpretations would be reasonable, the advertisement is ambiguous at best, which by inference is likely to mislead a hypothetical reasonable person."�

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