Center Parcs TV ad for ‘term-time breaks’ banned

'Irresponsible' ad offering cheap midweek term-time breaks and featuring school-aged children is taken off the air

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A TV advert for Center Parcs holidays has been banned for ‘irresponsibly’ encouraging parents to take their children out of school for a term-time midweek break.

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The TV advert, which was promoting 4-night midweek breaks for £279, featured shots of parents with their school-aged children enjoying a range of activites at the resort, but the accompanying ‘small print’ made it clear the offer wasn’t available during school holidays.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) decided to ban the ad after complaints from viewers.

“We considered the emphasis of the ad was on a family break,” the ASA said in its ruling, “and that the overall impression was that families could take advantage of the advertised offer, which was not available at weekends or during school holidays.

The ASA concluded that the ad had ‘crossed a line’ by featuring school-aged children in the promotion.

“We noted,” it said, “that the final on-screen text stated ‘Your family. Your time’, which we considered was likely to be an encouragement for parents to take up the offer… We concluded it irresponsibly encouraged parents to take their children out of school.”

Since September, the government has been cracking down on term-time absences for family holiday, introducing tougher regulations and allowing school authorities to issue penalty fine. 

Parents in England and Wales have a legal responsibility to ensure their child attends school, unless they have officially opted to educate them full-time at home.

A Center Parcs spokesman said the ruling was “extremely harsh… We do not believe the ad encourages parents to take their children out of school and it is very clear that the price displayed excludes school holidays.

What do you think? Was the ASA right to ban the ad? If you have school-aged children, would you be tempted to take up the promotional offer, despite the threat of a fine from your child’s school.

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MadeForMums Writer – Jessica Gibb

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