“This could be you,” Ryanair tweets to young people, inviting them to travel when they finish their exams.
Ryanair has removed an ad it posted on Twitter after an outcry branded it “irresponsible” and “sleazy”. The photograph had been aimed at students finishing their exams.
It shows a young man lying on a beach littered with cigarettes and an empty bottle next to him. “This could be you,” Ryanair tweeted.
The image from the Irish airline’s latest advertising campaign comes just days after the carrier called on airports in Europe to cut down of alcohol sales to people about to board its flights.
The image had the caption, “To all Leaving Cert and A-Level students: plan your dream summer holiday now so you have something to look forward to. Book on Ryanair.com in between ‘studying’ tonight. This could be you.”
The advertisement was bitterly criticised for encouraging young people to drink to excess and behave irresponsibly.
Twitter users said the ad was a “new low for the airline” and “madness” that Ryanair’s marketing team had signed off on it at all.
Another simply said: “Generating outrage as a marketing ploy. Sleazy.”
A Facebook user commented: “Advert just not funny… I have worked out in resort putting the pieces back together when youngsters overdo it with the drink, drugs, etc. Kids jumping off balconies, getting assaulted, getting STDs and worse… Even the major tour operators are moving away from this concept with stylish and responsible holiday options for young people.”
A Ryanair spokesperson told the newspaper The Sun that the ad was inspired by the airline’s social media team’s memories as teens enjoying “sightseeing” and “cultural activities”.