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Friday, September 10, 1999 Published at 12:41 GMT 13:41 UK


UK

Airline risks English backlash over advert

Slogan is aimed at promoting flights to America

An advert which urges travellers to "avoid the English" will spark complaints, an airline has been warned.

The adverts are being used to promote Icelandair flights from Glasgow to America, via Reykjavik, and use the slogan "Avoid the English and enjoy the hassle free way to the USA".

But the Commission for Racial Equality says that although the campaign does not breach discrimination guidelines, it is likely to cause offence.

There has been increasing concern recently over an apparent rise in anti-English prejudice in Scotland.

In a survey conducted in Scotland earlier this year, 66% of those asked said they believed Scots were anti-English.

'Will lead to complaints'

And CRE spokesman Mick Conboy said the way the advert was being pitched "in the present climate" would lead to some complaints.

"Against the current background it might cause offence to some people who see it," he said.

But Sam Knowles, of advertising agency BDP, which created the slogan, said the copywriter behind it was English and that the Advertising Standards Agency had not raised any objections.

"We are not surprised to have ruffled a few feathers," he said.

'Over-reaction'

"We are just pointing out the fact that most airlines do not fly direct to America from Glasgow.

"It is certainly not racist. We want it to be seen as amusing. If the CRE think it is insensitive, that is an over-reaction."

Last month a couple who claimed were victims of anti-English prejudice reached an undisclosed out of court settlement after suing a publican and his postmistress wife who they alleged had discriminated against them.

Frank Walters, 52 and his wife Sandra, 53, said they were forced out of their home in Clarencefield, near Annan, Dumfriesshire, because of their nationality.

The Scottish Executive recently announced that its inquiry into discrimination against ethnic minorities would cover the English.



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