Betting site Boylesports is obviously trying to take on Paddy Power in more ways than one after being hauled up by the ad watchdog for an Easter email campaign depicting a crucifixion to promote a “nailed on bonus” offer.
The text in the email stated: “In memory of the dearly departed JC, we are offering you a sacrilecious [sic] bonus this Easter weekend… So don’t just sit there gorging your own body weight in chocolate, that’s disrespectful. Get on Boylesports Gaming and get your nailed on bonus.”
Given the timing – the email arrived the day before Easter Sunday – it is perhaps surprising that only one recipient complained, but that is all it takes for the Advertising Standards Authority to launched an investigation.
In reponse, Boylesports insisted that while the image represented a crucifixion it believed that associated language and imagery had been absorbed into everyday culture, and cited examples from film, music and everyday speech.
This did not carry much truck with the ASA, however, which ruled that the the ad’s elements and its timing all contributed to the impression that the image was a reference not simply to a generic, historic crucifixion but to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and was therefore likely to cause serious offence to some recipients.
Banning the ad, the ASA said: “We considered the offence was likely to be particularly strongly felt by those of the Christian faith at Easter, when the imagery would have a particularly strong resonance.
“We considered that the ad was likely to cause serious offence and concluded that it was therefore in breach of the code.”
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