Virgin gets backside tanned by ASA

Virgin gets backside tanned by ASAVirgin Holidays has been roasted by the ad watchdog for encouraging people to tan irresponsibly, in an online campaign which invited customers to submit photos of their “tan lines” to win a four week holiday.
The push, which was part of its wider “Tanuary Sale” initiative devised by M&C Saatchi and Lida, ran on the Virgin website. Under the headline “Win 4 Weeks of Holiday”, it featured an image of a female’s tanned stomach and arm.
Beneath the image, it said: “Got a tan line pic? Show us your white bits and you could win 4 weeks of holiday. Upload to Twitter or Instagram using #Tanuary to enter and you will be entered into our prize draw.” A second competition on Facebook also invited people to pick up tattoo stencils bearing the logo #Tanuary from a Virgin shop or one of its V-Lounges before departure to place on their skin while sunbathing and submit photos of the logo on their skin for a chance to win a trip to Dubai.
The overall campaign has already attracted criticism from skin cancer patient support group Melanoma UK, and members of the public challenged whether the competitions were irresponsible, because they believed they encouraged consumers to tan their skin without raising awareness of sun safety.
In its defence, Virgin said the ads had been prepared with a sense of social responsibility to consumers. Prior to the launch of the “Tanuary Sale” competition, Virgin Holidays and a skin cancer charity communicated their partnership to promote sensible tanning.
Throughout the promotion, the header on the Virgin website included an icon that stated “Please tan responsibly”. The header clicked through to a page that explained Virgin’s partnership with the skin cancer charity and provided a link to a further website dedicated to sun safety.
But this defence carried little truck with the Advertising Standards Authority, which ruled the “tan responsibly” message was not given enough prominence. It added: “The icon was significantly smaller than the headline claims which promoted the opportunity to win a holiday. We also considered the large prizes on offer were significant incentives for entrants to acquire a tan.
“We therefore considered the ads could encourage recipients to tan their skin without giving sufficient prominence to information about sun safety. On that basis, we concluded that the ads were irresponsible and therefore breached the code.”
It ruled the ad must not appear again in its current form, although Virgin’s Facebook page began promoting Sun Awareness Week yesterday, urging holidaymakers to use Factor 30 sunscreen.

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2 Comments on "Virgin gets backside tanned by ASA"

  1. Virgin Holidays gets backside tanned by ASA #advertising #digitalmarketing #directmarketing #socialmedia

  2. RT @DM_editor: Virgin Holidays gets backside tanned by ASA #advertising #digitalmarketing #directmarketing #socialme…

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