Given the potential sensitivities surrounding faith and religious belief, references to religion in ads, even humorous ones, have the capacity to cause serious offence. Advertisers should ensure that they consider carefully the tone used and, if necessary, research the likelihood of their ads causing serious or widespread offence to followers of the faiths concerned.
Care is also needed when it comes to the use of stereotypes associated with race or culture in ads. While gentle humour which reflects mainstream culture or the use of light-hearted stereotypes is generally accepted, advertisers should be careful that their ads are not seen as offensive or demeaning by making a race or culture the subject of ridicule.
Advertisers should also bear in mind, when making decisions about complaints, the ASA will take in to account the location and context of the ad and the relevance of any nods to race, culture or religion to the product being advertised. However there are some aspects of religion and culture that are so sacred, their depiction in ads is instantly likely to break the rules.