Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Sex, sex, sex - priests and nuns used to sell ice cream

This advertisement is clearly designed to shock and offend, and so the media hype surrounding it is worth millions of pounds of free advertising. Sometimes one wonders if the Advertising Standards Authority is not bribed to ban an advertisement knowing full well that the furore surrounding the ban will give the advertisement and the product far more media coverage than it would ever have achieved otherwise.

Apparently, 10 complaints were received: 'a kiss between a priest and a nun was offensive because it demeaned people who had chosen to follow a religious vocation.

The response of Antonio Federici (the ice cream manufacturers) was that 'the ad was intended as a light-hearted, tongue in cheek portrayal celebrating forbidden Italian temptations which their Gelato Italiano ice cream represented. They considered that, in an age where religion was frequently used in a humorous way in the media, the image would not offend the vast majority of readers. They felt this was borne out by the small number of complaints received. They considered the ad was unlikely to offend deeply a minority of people. In their view, there was nothing in the ad that was likely to cause either serious or widespread offence.

Antonio Federici said it was significant that the image did not show the nun and priest touching, or kissing and the reader was therefore left pondering their dilemma - would they or would they not succumb to temptation and kiss? They considered the complaints were therefore concerned with the implication of the ad, not the ad itself, and pointed out that each individuals reaction to it would be shaped by their own values and experiences.

Seven Squared Publishing, who published Delicious and Sainsburys Magazines, explained that both publications were targeted at an adult audience aged between 25 and 55 years. They felt the ad was tongue in cheek and unlikely to offend their readers. They received two complaints from Delicious Magazine readers and five complaints from Sainsburys Magazine readers. They apologised for any offence caused and advised they had no plans to publish the ad again in future issues.'

The ASA Assessment:


The ASA noted the ad played on the theme of giving into temptation but stopped short of showing the nun and priest kissing. The ad stated "KISS TEMPTATION" and the two were portrayed in a seductive pose, as if they were about to kiss passionately.

We considered that the portrayal of the priest and nun in a sexualised manner and the implication that they were considering whether or not to give in to temptation, was likely to cause serious offence to some readers.

The ad breached CAP Code clause 5.1 (Decency).


The ad must not appear again in its current form.

One must be grateful that the campaign was not concerned with forbidden Irish temptations.

That the modern era is sex-obsessed is not in dispute: we live in a consumer society, and there is little that is marketed now without a glance, a wink, a flirt, a breast, or allusions to sexual intercourse because ‘sex sells’. If one were to judge by the media (which is more frequently a mirror to society than a catalyst for change), the fascination with sex is now more important than politics, religion, philosophy or even Mammon. Jesus may have had to address the latter as the dominating idol of his era: his judgement was that one may not serve both God and Mammon (Mt. 6:24). If one were to apply the same principle to the modern idol – ‘Eros’ – it is likely that Jesus would directly challenge society’s fixation with it, and by so doing confront those who obsess about sex and prioritise issues of sexuality, including those in the Church.


Blogger Mark Wadsworth said...

I thought that would appeal to you, a bit of ecclesiastical-themed soft-pron!

1 July 2009 at 14:08  
Anonymous oiznop said...

Isn't this as bit Iain Dale-ish?

I don't come here for this.

1 July 2009 at 14:17  
Blogger Gnostic said...

It could have been worse. They could have been advertising French Letters instead of Italian ice cream. ;D

On a more serious note, I don't think that an Imam would have been used instead of a priest. Or the nun become an Islamic equivalent (if there is such a thing). So why go out of the way to insult Christians?

Could it be because advertisers understand that Islam, far from being a joke, can get rather biblical in their revenge?

1 July 2009 at 14:24  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

If the Church of England’s clergy were as smoulderingly sexy as the priest in the picture, her pews would be packed solid.

A day early, but may I wish Your Grace many happy returns for tomorrow, your 520th birthday.

1 July 2009 at 14:26  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

Mr Wadsworth,

His Grace has just noticed that Mrs Gledhill has done a rather more tasteful post on the matter (or rather found a more tasteful picture). Sadly, His Grace was unable to source any photographs exploiting the female form since these are now deemed to be demeaning of women.

Mr Oiznop,

You are welcome to go wherever you please.

Mr Rottenborough,

His Grace thanks you. He will be celebrating tomorrow with record monthly statistics.

1 July 2009 at 14:40  
Anonymous sydneysider said...

Just as well Christians are such good sports.Try this one on an Islamite and you'd have a fatwa slapped on you quicker than a rat up a drainpipe.Are these delivered by mail?

1 July 2009 at 14:52  
Anonymous Lookenpeeper said...

For those of you who can't resist a peek try:- and click on 'gallery' for the pix.
This website has cringingly awful music to add to your viewing pleasure.
Just remember God is watching you.

1 July 2009 at 16:44  
Blogger Neuroskeptic said...

That the modern era is sex-obsessed is not in dispute...

Well it generally isn't, but it should be. Are we really more sex-obsessed than in the past? I'll grant that we're probably more frank about it than in some times and places but I'm pretty sure people don't think about it or do it much more or less than ever.

"There is nothing new under the sun" remember - read your Bible! (and the Song of Solomon if you need reminding of how dirty people were 2000 years ago.)

1 July 2009 at 17:05  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gnostic is right - I look forward to a 'challenging''sexy' advert showing a mullah undressing a burqa clad woman!

1 July 2009 at 17:40  
Blogger Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Can't believe they have banned this on the basis of 10 complaints! Haven't these 10 people got anything better to do - like protest about something that matters?

1 July 2009 at 19:57  
Anonymous TheGlovner said...

"Gnostic is right - I look forward to a 'challenging''sexy' advert showing a mullah undressing a burqa clad woman!"

Yes because thats what you should all get uptight about, our gang gets treated worse than their gang.

Childish the lot of it.

It may be worth remembering that mullah's don't get free seats in the House of Lords, what terrible inequality shown yet again, oh wait though, bringing up that inequality wouldn't suit your ends though would it.

If you don't like it then say you don't like it, that's fine, it's your right in a free country to say what you like, however remember that what you do say will have (or shouldn't have, but lets face it we know it does since 10 people complained and everyone else has to adhere to what they want) no implications for everone else that isn't in your gang.

1 July 2009 at 20:55  
OpenID jamestheless said...

A priest with a shaven chest?

A nun wearing heavy makeup?

While I was aware of the Vatican's attempts to modernize, I was not aware that things had reached such a stage.

Where will it all end, Your Grace?

(word verification: yedish)

1 July 2009 at 21:09  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

"Can't believe they have banned this on the basis of 10 complaints!" - Welshcakes

Such a lame argument. It could be countered quite easily by saying that the advert hasn't received a single letter of commendation.

There isn't a magic threshold of complaints. A single complaint that points out that something is in contravention of the guideline should be sufficient. 50,000 complaints with no valid complaint within the guidelines should be ignored.

1 July 2009 at 22:20  
Anonymous Hank Petram said...

In an effort to get passengers to pay more attention to the pre-flight safety videos shown on its aircraft, Air New Zealand has stripped them down to the "bare essentials."

The airline has begun showing a video featuring flight attendants and a pilot wearing nothing but a smile and some strategically-applied body paint.,2933,529742,00.html?test=latestnews

1 July 2009 at 22:58  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The sad part of it all is that hardly anyone complained :(
Should a Christian based culture really accept everything? Is it just thorough indifferentism toward religion?

1 July 2009 at 23:07  
Anonymous William Lamberton said...

Count themselves fortunate- 100 years ago Rome would have had these people burnt at the stake citing de heritico comburendo.

As for me, I found it amusing but anything that offends the Fenians is OK by me

1 July 2009 at 23:31  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One can only imagine the outrage and charges of racism had an Imam and a woman in a burka been portrayed similarly. But doing that -- and I would have preferred to see Islamic symbols attacked -- would have required courage, something in short supply in the West these days.

2 July 2009 at 01:13  
Blogger Brad said...

Well, it's Italy, the land of the Borgias, not like it's without precedents.

2 July 2009 at 03:30  
Anonymous sydneysider said...

@ Anonymous
A Christian based culture does seem to accept everything. We are taught to turn the other cheek and this is the result. The peace and love thing doesn't seem to be working at the moment although it has in the past.Of course praying for a miracle is always an option and that may work if you believe in the power of prayer.

Dressing somebody in a burka is not a great idea considering what happened to Danish journalists for a few innocuous cartoons.It's not the solution although a tempting idea.

My grandparents lived in fear and under siege for almost the entire ww2, but that only lasted five years. You may be doing it for a lot longer.God bless.

2 July 2009 at 08:00  
Blogger dutchlionfrans1953 said...

I hate this picture...HELL must look like this: People lusting after each other as objects of LUST!

This has nothing to do with love, for love concerns itself with the happiness of the object of love. Lust concerns itself with the happiness of oneself, and does NOT concern itself with the happiness or wellbeing of the object of lust.

Lust uses the object of lust for one's own satisfaction, while love gives and denies himself for the object of love: the other!

2 July 2009 at 17:52  
Anonymous דניאל said...


4 July 2009 at 00:57  
Anonymous Athanasius contra mundum said...

You just haven't quite mastered British humour yet let alone the syntax which is disappointing considering your lengthy stay in the west.

You seem very agitated. Relax! Put
your feet up and watch some government sanctioned amputations,
clitirodectomies or public executions on Arab telly.

4 July 2009 at 06:21  
Anonymous דניאל said...

Are you talking to me?

4 July 2009 at 23:33  
Blogger ange said...

thnk you

26 March 2010 at 13:15  

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