ASA orders church to withdraw anti-gay ad

The Advertising Standards Authority has banned a regional press advert from the Sandown Free Presbyterian Church in Belfast for using strong biblical references to campaign against homosexuality.

The ad used biblical references such as “Thou shalt not lie down with mankind, as with womankind; it is an abomination” to convey its opinion on homosexuality.

The ASA received seven complaints about the wording of the ad, which have been upheld. The ASA ruled that the text was too strong and was deemed offensive.

It did not consider the church to have breached rules on matter of opinion, but said it should seek advice from the Committee of Advertising Practice before publishing future marketing material.

The ASA has also banned an ad for furniture retailer DFS after viewers complained that the sofas in-store were smaller than those advertised on TV.

DFS admitted it had superimposed actors onto sofas that were not part of the normal range available in-store. The ASA ruled this was misleading and said the ad should not be broadcast again.

The ASA has also launched an investigation into the latest campaign for children’s charity Barnardo’s. It has received more than 400 complaints about a hard-hitting ad focusing on the cycle of child abuse.

The ad, created by Bartle Bogle Hegarty, features a girl being hit by her father, mugging someone, taking drugs and getting arrested.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and inspiration that will help you develop as a marketer and leader.

Register and receive the best content from the only title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work, so we can make Marketing Week more relevant to you.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team and columnists will ask the biggest questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we will be your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Dedicated to developing your skills and helping you achieve marketing excellence. Find guidance on leadership, professional development and the latest industry jobs.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3711 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here