THIS RULING REPLACES THAT PUBLISHED ON 30 MAY 2018 SINCE WHICH TIME THE ADVERTISER WHOSE DETAILS WE HAD PUBLISHED CONTACTED US FOR THE FIRST TIME TO EXPLAIN THAT THEY WERE NOT THE PUBLISHING RECORD LABEL FOR DON BROCO'S TECHNOLOGY ALBUM. THE RULING REMAINS NOT UPHELD BUT THE IDENTITY OF THE ADVERTISER HAS NOW BEEN CORRECTED.
A poster for Don Broco’s album, seen in February 2018, included an image of a figure in the style of a religious icon, with the face replaced by a snarling dog.
Two complainants, who believed the image to be of the Virgin Mary, objected that the ad would cause serious offence to Christians.
Sharptone Records said the cover art for the bands album was not meant to be offensive Further they said that the label had not created the artwork and were not involved with the creative process behind it. They said that it had not been intended to mock any religious or iconic figure.
Exterion Media (UK) Ltd did not believe the ad would cause serious or widespread offence to the public, particularly in the context of the product being advertised.
The ASA understood that the image in the ad was reminiscent of the Black Madonna of Czestochowa, a revered icon of the Virgin Mary in the Catholic Christian faith, although it was not an alteration of a specific image. We acknowledged that some members of the Christian faith would object to the use of the image in an ad, and in particular the replacement of the face with a snarling dog. However, we considered that it was clear the ad was for an album and that the image was being presented as artwork in that context. We also considered that the image would not be seen as mocking or derogatory towards the Madonna or Christian faith in general, and there was nothing else within the ad which gave that impression. We concluded that the ad was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.
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 required.