Jokey Jesus advertising campaign branded blasphemous

An advertising campaign for stationery, which jokingly refers to the love of Jesus, has offended dozens of Christians – and has become the most complained about campaign this year.

A total of 124 people thought the national press ads for International Paper, which trades as Rey & Co, were blasphemous and offensive, according to this month’s Advertising Standards Authority’s report.

The campaign, through Mitchell Patterson Grime Mitchell, used lines such as, “I’ve seen the light and the dark and the gloss coated paper”, but the ASA upheld complaints about only one of the ads. It was headlined: “Jesus loves me” and continued: “Feel the power of His love – or Hers. Enchant them with a loving message you’ve designed and printed on a Rey & Co greetings card.”

Because of the reference to Jesus, the ASA considered that the ad was unlikely to be seen as amusing.

A number of blue chip companies also featured in the Advertising Standards Authority’s report. Among them was British Gas Trading, which had a complaint from Scottish Power upheld against it about a national press advertisement on price comparisons.

Audi UK has also been rapped for an “offensive” and “irresponsible” national press ad created by Bartle Bogle Hegarty for the TDI model. It shows a squashed pink toy rabbit on an open road. Some people interpreted the advertisement as depicting a hit-and-run accident, with the toy belonging to a child.

A complaint was also upheld against the advertisement for the 1998 Micra from Nissan Motors (GB), created by TBWA Simons Palmer, because the occupants of the car should have been wearing seat belts.

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