The United Kingdom's Advertising Standards Agency has banned a series of controversial ads for upmarket ice cream company Antonio Federici Gelato Italiano, thereby ensuring that lots of people see the ads on websites like this one at no cost to Antonio Federici. The ASA says that the Catholic Church-themed ads are a distortion and mockery of the Catholic faith. The two ads, reproduced below, stamp "Immaculately Conceived" over an image of a pregnant ice-cream eating nun, and "We Believe in Salivation" over two spoon-wielding priests who appear about to kiss.
The U.K. Campaign's Sara Kimberley reports the company's response. "Antonio Federici said the idea of 'conception' represented the development of their ice cream, and its decision to use religious imagery stemmed from its strong feelings towards their product – the text also read 'Ice cream is our religion'."
AdFreak's David Gianatasio calls Federici "the world's most blasphemous ice cream." He notes this isn't their first ASA run in for scandalous religious imagery. "Having had its 2009 ad with an amorous nun and priest banned by the ASA, Federici has returned this year with two similar ads."
The ban is retroactive; the ads have already appeared in three British women's magazines, Grazia, Look, and The Lady, but unsurprisingly drew complaint.