Ms Thomas, who presents RTÉ’s Television’s No Frontiers travel show, had fronted an ad campaign for Eircom’s broadband. But a radio ad by rival broadband from Magnet referred to her without her consent, also calling her “a blonde girl from a travel show”.
Yesterday, the Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland (ASAI) upheld her complaint over her appearance in the commercial without her consent.
Magnet’s ad stated: “Bogband — it’s broadband that slows down when you need it most. Your friend got it because a blonde girl from a travel show told him it was great but what that genius forgot to mention was high contention — broadband’s dirty little secret.”
The advertising watchdogs said the words “blonde girl” and “genius” clearly referred to Ms Thomas even though the advertisers insisted the word “genius” meant the friend in the ad.
The ASAI also upheld a complaint against betting giant Paddy Power for an ad before Ireland’s Six Nations rugby clash against England at Croke Park in February. It depicted paramedics carrying a sportsman off the field of play and included the tag line “coming for to carry you home”, as a reference to the England rugby song Swing Low Sweet Chariot.
Complainants said the ad encouraged violence on and off the pitch as well as possible racism.
Watchdogs also upheld a complaint against holiday firm Budget Travel for a poster mocked up to look like a traffic hazard warning sign on the Loughlinstown Roundabout on the N11 in Co Dublin. The Road Safety Authority said drivers could have been distracted by flashing lights on the poster.
The ASAI also upheld part of a complaint by Budget against a Panorama Travel ad in the latest of a round of tit-for-tat complaints between the pair.
Meanwhile, the Halifax bank was criticised for the use of slapstick kung-fu and saloon-bar style violence in a television commercial.
“The complaints committee considered that the scene where someone is thrown through a window and has a poster smashed over his head was inappropriate even given the nature of the commercial,” said the ASAI.