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ice cream is our religion

15 September 2010

On Wednesday the ASA ruled that an advert for Antonio Federici ice cream was offensive to Catholics. The advert depicted a heavily pregnant woman, dressed as a nun, holding a tub of ice cream. The advert’s text said “Immaculately Conceived….”

Federici said that their advert was a form of art and self-expression. They felt that advertising should be challenging and often iconoclastic. However the ASA said that the use of the image was likely to be seen as a distortion and mockery of the beliefs of Roman Catholics, and using it in a light hearted way to advertise ice cream was likely to cause serious offence.

In response, Federici have stated that they will be unveiling a new advert, which continues this theme, to coincide with the Pope’s visit to the UK.

This approach is similar to ambush marketing, and at the very least, contradicts the spirit of the ASA’s ruling. Is this another example of an adverse ASA ruling providing useful publicity for a brand?

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