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Elveden: Center Parcs ad banned by ASA for ‘encouraging parents to take children out of school’

09:43 23 April 2014

A family group cycling at Center Parcs

A family group cycling at Center Parcs

Archant

Activity holidays firm Center Parcs has had one of its adverts banned for encouraging parents to take their children out of school during term time.

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The television ad promoting four-night midweek breaks featured families with school-aged children but with small print stating that the offer “excludes school holidays”.

Two viewers complained to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) that the ad was irresponsible because it encouraged parents to take their children out of school during term time.

Center Parcs, which operates at five locations around the UK including Elveden Forest, in Suffolk, responded that it was the responsibility of parents to exercise judgment regarding their children, and that there was nothing in the ad that encouraged them to take their children out of school.

The advertising clearance service Clearcast also said the issue of taking children out of school during term time was the responsibility of parents.

In its ruling, however, the ASA said: “We considered the emphasis of the ad was on a family break 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.

“We also noted 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.

“Because the ad had 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.”

The ASA ruled that the advert must not appear again in its current form.

A Center Parcs spokesman said that the company had always adhered to the ASA’s processes and guidelines, and that the advert subject to the complaints had been cleared for transmission by the relevant regulatory broadcast authority.

“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 said.

“This approach was taken based on the advice we were given by the ASA themselves.

“In our opinion, this ASA ruling represents a new interpretation of the guidelines,” the spokesman added.

“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.”

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4 comments

  • Problem solved pupils go on strike with the teachers the days they are going to ,days then free to do what you want.

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    pandy

    Wednesday, April 23, 2014

  • Any attempt to address persistent truancy or poor attendance has my total support. However, the whole situation on “Term Time Holidays” is a farce. Government keeps penalizing and alienating hard pressed, hard working parents about term time holidays. Kids may get 12 weeks holiday, but the bureaucrats ignore the fact that most parents get just 4 weeks; with everyone one of these families competing to get a holiday at the same time! The 6 week summer holiday was set up so kids could help bring in the Victorian harvest. It bears no relevance for modern families; with either both parents working, or broken families with multiple parents, most of whom are desperate for some quality time with their kids (and lack of quality family time was often the reason their first marriages failed in the first place !). We can all blame holiday companies for hiking prices, but it’s simply supply and demand. If the entire nation is forced to go on holiday at the same time it’s an unrealistic demand on transport, flights, hotels, holiday camps. The rest of the year these facilities are struggling for business or partially empty. The whole situation needs to change. The 6 week holiday could perhaps be broken into 2 sets of 3 weeks and local authorities could coordinate to stagger them between May and September so that the demand is spread over 4-5 months. This would give families far more options; give schools more flexibility; holiday companies would benefit too as more families would be able to afford a much deserved holiday together; and government may even see a reduction in welfare costs as more families stay together with access to quality time; to bond and unify!

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    Mark Ling

    Wednesday, April 23, 2014

  • I agree with 'Right' on this. Where's the equality for a start? If teachers are allowed to give themselves a number of unpaid days leave because they disagree with politicians, why can't kids be taken out of school to go on holiday to see some of this big wide world we live in. Holidays (for those able)are an important part of being a family. School's hardly prepare children for adult life; where's the lessons on financial budgeting, knowing your basic rights when it comes to renting a home, employment and other essential skills for living in 21st century britain. Apart from the removal of capital punishment and the development of technology, our state education system is stuck in the Victorian age. So is the hypocrisy of this stupid law - highlighted by strikes, where it's legal for teachers to take days off and make poor parents pay for it as well, as a mum or dad has to take a day off work..

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    Mister Cynical

    Wednesday, April 23, 2014

  • How about thinking about the parents who can't afford the extortionate prices charged during the school holidays so have no option BUT to take their children out of school? And why not have teacher training days during the school breaks too?

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    I'm right,your not!!

    Wednesday, April 23, 2014

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