Two adverts for ice cream brand Antonio Federici Gelato Italiano have had Roman Catholics’ crusifix in a knot recently and now face a ban from the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).
One of the ads depicts a pregnant nun looking guilt-stricken as she tucks into a tub of the ice cream. The eye-catching ad is accompanied by the clever tagline – “Immaculately conceived”.
The other ad features two priests, ice cream in hand, about to kiss with the the tagline – “We believe in salivation”.
The ASA, perhaps unsurprisingly, have received a number of complaints about the ads and are now investigating the claims. Making the most of a storm in a tub of ice cream, a retired bishop in the UK, John Jukes, said the adverts “tend to add to the general downgrading and attack on religious opinions and religiously committed people, which is a danger to the welfare of our culture.”
The brand is familiar with the feeling of ASA hot water about their feet. Last year a similar advert, which showed a nun and a priest caught in a compromising position with the line – “Kiss temptation”, was also the subject of an investigation after ten complaints were made. The ad was ruled to be in breach of the Committee of Advertising Practice rules, which state that “linking sex or sexualised images with religion may cause particular offence” and that “portraying nuns in a sexual manner is inappropriate“.
Given that ruling, you would have to question the rationale behind continuing with this campaign, entitled “Ice cream is our religion” – ‘No publicity is bad publicity’ perhaps?
The print ads are currently running in women’s mags Grazia and The Lady and have so far attracted over 40 complaints.