Center Parcs' Term-Time TV Advert Banned
A TV advert for Center Parcs which "irresponsibly encouraged parents" to take their children on holiday during term time has been banned.
The ad, which promoted four-night midweek breaks at the resorts and featured families with school-aged children, aired with a small print disclaimer warning the offer "excludes school holidays".
Although only two viewers complained, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled the advert emphasised a "family break" and said it suggested families could take advantage of an offer that was not available at weekends or during school holidays.
An on-screen message stating "your family, your time" was likely to be an encouragement for parents to take up the offer, a spokesman for the ASA said.
"Because the ad focused on a family break to promote an offer which was available only during term time, we concluded it irresponsibly encouraged parents to take their children out of school," he added.
The ban comes weeks after an online petition signed by more than 170,000 people triggered a debate among MPs over the cost of school holiday breaks.
Pupils are only allowed absence outside of school holidays in "exceptional circumstances" and parents can be fined for taking their children on term-time breaks.
The e-petition accused travel companies of "cashing in" and demanded parents be allowed some "guilt-free family time".
A spokesman for Center Parcs said the company had "always adhered to the ASA processes and guidelines" and insisted the commercial had been cleared for broadcast.
"Our ad shows a number of families, with children of varying ages, enjoying some of the activities that are available at Center Parcs," he said.
"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."
He added: "In our opinion, this ASA ruling represents a new interpretation of the guidelines.
"However, whilst we believe this ruling to be extremely harsh, we do of course take on board the ASA's comments and will continue to work within their guidelines."