It’s not surprising that some people might be a bit offended by an ad that tries to sell ice cream by using a photo of a pregnant nun. What is surprising is that the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority has actually banned the ad for fear of ticking off Catholics.
Here’s how the ASA explains its decision to nix the ad, which shows a nun chowing down on Antonio Federici ice cream and features the slogan “immaculately conceived”:
We considered the use of a nun pregnant through immaculate conception was likely to be seen as a distortion and mockery of the beliefs of Roman Catholics.
We concluded that to use such an image in a lighthearted way to advertise ice cream was likely to cause serious offence to readers, particularly those who practised the Roman Catholic faith.
Not exactly pleased with the ASA’s ruling, Federici says it’s planning on unleashing an even more offensive ad for when the Pope visits London later this week. The company plans to slap up the new posters near Westminster Abbey, where the pontiff will be on Friday.
“We are in the process of securing a series of billboards close to and along the planned route of the Pope’s cavalcade around Westminster Cathedral,” said a rep for the UK-based company.
A rep for ASA countered that its rulings “must be followed and we are taking steps to ensure Antonio Federici do so… We do not comment on the likely compliance of ads that have not yet appeared. However, we are continuing to conduct work behind the scenes, including with the advertiser, to ensure they comply with the rules.”