An ice cream advertisement has been banned in Italy after complaints from Christians that it was offensive. The ad, which depicts a heavily pregnant nun with the line “immaculately conceived,” prompted 10 complaints to Italy’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) after running in the magazines The Lady and Grazia. (Another ad in the campaign features two men in cassocks and clerical collars close to kissing, with the line “we believe in salivation.”)
The ice-cream company, Antonio Federici Gelato Italiano, defended itself against the pregnant-nun complaints, arguing that “conception” described the development of their ice cream. The company also claims that the ads are, in part, meant “to comment on and question, using satire and gentle humour, the relevance and hypocrisy of religion and the attitudes of the Church to social issues.” But the ASA ruled that the pregnant nun ad was “likely to be seen as a distortion and mockery of the beliefs of Roman Catholics,” and banned it. That wasn’t the first time the ASA has had to police the company’s ads. Last year they canned another one that depicted a priest just about to kiss a nun.