A tweet from the Bank’s Beer twitter account, dated 12 April 2017, stated “Easter is on it’s [sic] way #easter #beer #tellitlikeitis #Wolverhampton”. The tweet contained an image which featured a graffiti painting on a wall of Jesus sitting on a bench with a halo above his head. The image showed Jesus wearing a rabbit costume with the head taken off and placed on the bench. Below the bench was a basket filled with Easter eggs. Next to the bench was a pint glass branded with text which stated “BANK’S TELL IT LIKE IT IS”.
The complainant, who believed the image of Jesus in a rabbit costume trivialised Christianity, challenged whether the ad was offensive.
Marston’s plc t/a Bank’s Beer said that the image was intended to highlight the commercialisation of Easter which had prevailed over the traditional meaning of the festival and its message of the resurrection. They said that they had intended the tweet to be pro-Christianity and did not seek to trivialise the faith.
Twitter did not comment on the complaint.
The ASA noted that the tweet was posted during the Easter period and contained an image of Jesus wearing a rabbit costume. We acknowledged that the depiction of Jesus, and particularly the timing of the tweet, could be interpreted as distasteful by some people of a Christian faith. However, we considered that most people would not find the portrayal of Jesus to be mocking or derogatory. Because we considered that the ad was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence, we concluded that it had not breached the Code.
We investigated the ad under CAP Code (Edition 12) rule
Marketing communications must not contain anything that is likely to cause serious or widespread offence. Particular care must be taken to avoid causing offence on the grounds of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability or age. Compliance will be judged on the context, medium, audience, product and prevailing standards.
Marketing communications may be distasteful without necessarily breaching this rule. Marketers are urged to consider public sensitivities before using potentially offensive material.
The fact that a product is offensive to some people is not grounds for finding a marketing communication in breach of the Code. (Harm and Offence), but did not find it in breach.
No further action necessary.