ASA Adjudication on Antonio Federici
199 The Knightsbridge
27 October 2010
Food and drink
Number of complaints:
A magazine ad, for ice cream, appeared in Look magazine. It showed two priests in full robes who looked as though they were about to kiss. One of the men also wore rosary beads and held a spoon in his hand; the other held a tub of ice cream. The ad included text that stated “We Believe in Salivation”.
Six complainants objected that the ad was offensive, because they believed it mocked Catholicism.
CAP Code (Edition 11)
Antonio Federici said their advertising did not mock Catholicism but reflected the grave troubles they considered affected the Catholic Church. They gave examples of issues that had been reported in the press, which they believed many people would find more offensive than an ad that celebrated homosexuality. They said the issue of gay and lesbian bishops and priests was one that currently divided the Church of England and was likely to continue to do so. Antonio Federici said the ad contrasted the actions of the Catholic Church with their belief that if ice cream were a religion, it would be one of universal love, regardless of race, colour, creed or gender. They said they were Catholics but would continue to produce advertising that challenged the Catholic Church while they believed it remained troubled. They believed, however, the ad was not likely to cause serious or widespread offence.
Look magazine said they did not intend to cause offence to their readers and would accept the ASAs guidance before publishing the ad in future.
The ASA noted the CAP Code stated that ads "should contain nothing that is likely to cause serious or widespread offence. Particular care should be taken to avoid causing offence on the grounds of race, religion, sex, sexual orientation or disability".
We noted the ad used the text "We Believe in Salivation" as a theme to refer to the taste of the product and to the image of the priests, who were portrayed in a seductive pose as if they were about to kiss passionately. We considered the portrayal of the two priests in a sexualised manner was likely to be interpreted as mocking the beliefs of Roman Catholics and was therefore likely to cause serious offence to some readers. We concluded that the ad breached the Code.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 11) clause 5.1 (Decency).
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Antonio Federici to ensure future ads were not likely to cause serious or widespread offence.
Adjudication of the ASA Council (Non-broadcast)