Feeds

Fly.be rapped for 'harass Swiss ref' email ad

Budget airline's 'offensive' marketing campaign

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Three months on, England's ignominious exit from the European Championship continues to cause trouble. UK advertising watchdogs this week slammed low fare airline Fly.be for sending out an email ad inviting people to hassle Swiss Euro2004 ref Urs Meier, who officiated England's ill-fated quarter final match against Portugal. Meier's decision to disallow a headed goal by Sol Campbell in the closing minutes of the game made him a scapegoat in some circles for England's exit from the competition.

Fly.be sent out an email the day after England's defeat to Portugal on penalties which poked not-so-gentle fun against referee Meier. The ad featured a cartoon of a man screaming and beating the ground in frustration. Text next to the cartoon stated:

WE WAS ROBBED!! But you won't be with flybe's post EURO blues sale!

As a mark of respect to our lads, and some of the worst refereeing in years we have suspended services to Switzerland, his home country. We may think about bringing them back next year, but we won't be flying Referee Meier for a while! In fact, if you visit flybe.com now you can link through to Mr. Meier's own personal website and leave your feedback on his performance.

The ad generated complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) that it was "irresponsible and offensive". Complainants believed the message made a joke of racist attitudes and would incite recipients to harass Urs Meier.

Fly.be said the email did not contain any negative Swiss stereotypes. It asserted that the email reflected the mood of the nation, in a humorous way, on the day after England's defeat to Portugal in Euro 2004. The airline claimed their email did not encourage recipients to harass Mr Meier, but "merely to leave him feedback".

The Authority rejected this argument and upheld the complaint. Yes the email was intended to be humorous, and did not contain any negative Swiss stereotypes, but it was irresponsible of Fly.be to direct more attention at Meier, ASA ruled. The Authority noted that Meier had been placed under police protection after receiving more than 16,000 emails, including death threats, since the day of England's defeat.

ASA ruled that Fly.be's email encouraged recipients to leave Meier negative feedback. The Authority concluded that the "email was irresponsible and offensive, because it could have encouraged recipients to harass Meier".

One complainant also objected to Fly.be's statement that it was going to suspend service to Switzerland as "misleading" on the grounds that it didn't fly there in the first place. But ASA said that Fly.be suspended its Southampton to Geneva service just before Euro2004 and did not plan to reintroduce the route until December 2004, so its statement on that score was perfectly in order. This complaint was rejected. ®

Related stories

Uncle Sam demands all air travel records
Airlines ground online ticket price gouging
Beckham penalty outrage ball heads for space
Beckham penalty outrage ball to tour UK
Beckham penalty outrage ball lands on eBay

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
Regin: The super-spyware the security industry has been silent about
NSA fingered as likely source of complex malware family
Why did it take antivirus giants YEARS to drill into super-scary Regin? Symantec responds...
FYI this isn't just going to target Windows, Linux and OS X fans
Privacy bods offer GOV SPY VICTIMS a FREE SPYWARE SNIFFER
Looks for gov malware that evades most antivirus
Patch NOW! Microsoft slings emergency bug fix at Windows admins
Vulnerability promotes lusers to domain overlords ... oops
HACKERS can DELETE SURVEILLANCE DVRS remotely – report
Hikvision devices wide open to hacking, claim securobods
'Regin': The 'New Stuxnet' spook-grade SOFTWARE WEAPON described
'A degree of technical competence rarely seen'
Astro-boffins start opening universe simulation data
Got a supercomputer? Want to simulate a universe? Here you go
You stupid BRICK! PCs running Avast AV can't handle Windows fixes
Fix issued, fingers pointed, forums in flames
prev story

Whitepapers

Driving business with continuous operational intelligence
Introducing an innovative approach offered by ExtraHop for producing continuous operational intelligence.
Why CIOs should rethink endpoint data protection in the age of mobility
Assessing trends in data protection, specifically with respect to mobile devices, BYOD, and remote employees.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Protecting against web application threats using SSL
SSL encryption can protect server‐to‐server communications, client devices, cloud resources, and other endpoints in order to help prevent the risk of data loss and losing customer trust.