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ASA bans offensive Phones 4 U Jesus ad

7 September 2011

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has today (7 Sept) censured the mobile phone retailing giant Phones 4 U Ltd for a newspaper ad which depicted a cartoon of Jesus, grinning, winking, and giving the thumbs up under the text Miraculous deals on Samsung Galaxy Android phones.

The ad received 98 complaints on the basis that it was disrespectful to Christians, especially as it was run during the Easter period. The ASA today found that the ad breached rule 4.1 of the CAP Code as it caused harm and offence.

Nina Best, an expert in advertising law at Browne Jacobson, commented:

"Phones 4 U got the timing completely wrong on the ad. Running the campaign during the Easter period most likely led the ASA to uphold the complaint. Whilst companies should not be deterred from being edgy and tongue in cheek with their marketing efforts, they must make sure they take all factors into consideration before launching a campaign. Otherwise, the risk of vexing a large proportion of their target audience is extremely high."

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Lakhbir Rakar

Lakhbir Rakar

PR Manager