Monday 15 April 2024

Italian regulator pulls ‘blasphemous’ crisps advert from the airwaves

Patatine al posto dell'ostia, stop allo spot “blasfemo” di Amica Chips

Italian regulators have pulled a “blasphemous” television advert in which nuns are offered crisps instead of consecrated hosts during a Mass.

The advert for Amica Chips provoked a huge backlash within the Catholic nation, with claims that it “debased” and “vilified” Jesus Christ.

The Institute of Advertising Self-Discipline, Italy’s advertising standards authority, has now upheld complaints against the advert and ordered it off the airwaves.

In the 30-second advertisement, a group of young nuns are seen filing through a cloister into a chapel while another nun prepares for Mass but fills a ciborum with crisps instead of communion wafers.

A priest distributes a crisp instead of Host to a nun during Communion and the shocked nuns look to the nun in the sacristy who is shovelling crisps into her mouth from a bag.

The Italian Association of Radio and Television Listeners formally complained about the advert on the grounds that it “offends the sensibility of millions of practising Catholics”.

Giovanni Baggio, the president of the association, called for “the immediate suspension” of the advert because it was blasphemous and showed a “lack of respect”.

Avvenire, a newspaper owned by the Italian Bishops’ Conference, also called for the advert to be banned because Christ is “reduced to a crisp, debased and vilified as he was 2,000 years ago”.

Amica Chips was “spitting” on Christ “just as the Roman soldiers did to him before his crucifixion”, the newspaper said in an editorial.

According to the Daily Telegraph, the agency behind the commercial, Lorenzo Marini Group, said it had intended to strike “a strong British-style note of irony” with an advert that was “aimed at a young target audience”.

The head of the group, Lorenzo Marini, said the commercial was “irreverent” but said it was not intended to be offensive.

The regulator, however, informed the Italian Association of Radio and Television Listener that it had upheld its “appeal for the immediate suspension of the commercial” and reminded the advertiser that commercials “must not offend moral, civil, and religious convictions”.

Mr Baggio said his association wanted advertisers “to be more respectful of cultural and religious identities and to work for commercials that are inclusive and that appeal to all users in a way that is careful not to create discomfort and disapproval”.

He said: “Let us work together for a civilization that needs to grow in respect for cultural and religious identities.”