September 7, 2011

Mobile phone ad mocked Christianity

by Jan Harris

Phones4U has been banned from using a mobile phone ad featuring a cartoon-like image of Jesus with the sacred heart on his chest, by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

Nearly one hundred people complained to the ASA after the image of Jesus winking and giving a thumbs-up sign appeared in a national ad campaign for Samsung Android phones.

The ASA banned the ad after ruling that it ‘mocked and belittled’ the Christian faith.

The ad ran during Easter, the most important festival in the Christian calendar, when Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, three days after he was crucified.

It displayed the slogan “Miraculous deals on Samsung Galaxy Android phones”.

Phones4U said it had hoped to create a “light-hearted, positive and contemporary image of Christianity relevant to the Easter weekend”, but it requires little imagination to realise that comparing a phone deal to the miracle of the resurrection is at the very least insensitive and potentially very offensive indeed.

Following the ruling Phones4U said it was sorry for any offence caused and would not be running any similar ads.

Meanwhile the ASA has ruled that an Aldi television advert, in which a woman says her husband likes both Aldi tea and PG Tips, but prefers gin, does not break the advertising code.

The ASA received 24 complaints that the advert made light of alcoholism and was irresponsible because it suggested gin as an alternative to non-alcoholic drinks.

Aldi said that this was not the intention of the ad, which was meant to be humorous, a view supported by the ASA which decided that the ad did not encourage irresponsible drinking or take alcoholism lightly.

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