independent

Saturday 19 April 2014

Spanish judge rules against ads on racy Ryanair calendar

Advertisements placed on Ryanair's racy calendar featuring stewardesses in bikinis have been banned by a Spanish judge for being sexist.

Judge Amanda Cohen ordered the low-cost airline to drop its annual Girls of Ryanair campaign following a formal complaint from a consumers group.

The calendar shows female cabin crew stripped down to skimpy beach wear and has been running since 2008.

The company has raised over €700,000 for charity through sales and the 2014 edition’s proceeds will go to the Teenage Cancer Trust.

But Spanish consumer group Adecua claimed the calendar is advertising with “sexual connotations” and called for it to be banned.

Judge Cohen, sitting at the Commercial Court in Malaga, ruled the cabin crew are shown in “a sexually suggestive manner” and that “the female body is being used as a mere object and as part of the appeal of the advert.”

In a written ruling she added there was “an absolute disconnection between the image used and the product being promoted.”

She described the calendar as “illegal, discriminatory and unfair.”

The judge praised Ryanair’s “laudable charity work” but said it was “obvious” the calendar was being used as a marketing tool to sell airline tickets.

Ryanair will be allowed to appeal the ruling.

The company has previously complained to Spain’s General Council of the Judiciary about the judge’s alleged “lack of impartiality” during the hearings.

The airline sells the calendar, shot in Crete, for 10 pounds or 10 euros on flights and online.

A “making of” video has been watched almost 700,000 times on YouTube.

Spanish consumer groups have been calling for the calendar to be banned for five years.

The company has said it sells 10,000 copies of the calendar a year.

In statement to independent.ie Ryanair’s Robin Kiely said: “We have instructed our lawyers to appeal this ruling regarding last year’s (2013) cabin crew charity calendar, which raised over €100,000 for a Polish charity, the TVN Foundation, to help sick children in Poland.

"This case and ruling only relates to specific adverts run in November and December 2012 and has no effect on Ryanair’s continuing charity work or our current 2014 cabin crew charity calendar.”

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