WATCH | Unmasked: the banned ad that landed FlySafair in hot water

29 October 2020 - 16:59 By Elizabeth Sleith
A screengrab from the banned FlySafair advert.
A screengrab from the banned FlySafair advert.
Image: FlySafair/YouTube

Local airline FlySafair has had to withdraw a TV commercial because of scenes in which people appear to be breaking the law on social distancing and wearing masks in public.

The 20-second advertisement starts off above board, with a scene on a plane in which everyone is wearing masks.

It goes on, however, to show a group reuniting without masks (pictured above) — possibly in public and possibly qualifying as a gathering, neither of which are allowed under the current Covid restrictions, the Advertising Regulatory Board (ARB) said in its ruling.

In another scene, three women are shown enjoying cocktails around a pool. The ARB said this could fall within the allowance for people to remove their masks while eating and drinking, but none of the other people in the background are wearing masks either.

This “may imply to some viewers that once you are on holiday, the rules no longer apply, and you may remove your masks and ignore social-distancing protocols, going so far as to hug your family and friends”, said the board.

A screengrab from the banned FlySafair advert.
A screengrab from the banned FlySafair advert.
Image: FlySafair/YouTube

FlySafair said the ad “was never intended to advocate irresponsible behaviour”.

It explained that only the early scenes, in which masks are worn, had been shot recently and that the “scenes of South Africans reconnecting” had been “repurposed from a previous commercial” in a bid to save costs.

There was also a disclaimer in the ad, saying: “Some scenes were filmed pre-Covid-19. FlySafair supports the use of face masks.” The ARB said the text was too small.

WATCH | The ad that landed FlySafair in hot water with the Advertising Regulatory Board.

Last weekend, the airline turned back a taxiing plane at OR Tambo International to remove a passenger who was refusing to wear a mask.

At the time of publication the FlySafair advert in question was still available on the company's YouTube channel

TimesLIVE