Pregnant nun ad firm vows to target pope's visit to Britain
An ice cream company banned from using an advert showing a pregnant nun vowed on Wednesday to place similar posters along the route of Pope Benedict XVI's visit to London this week.
The advert for the Antonio Federici brand showed the heavily pregnant nun standing in a church holding a tub of ice cream and a spoon, with the strap lines "Immaculately conceived" and "Ice cream is our religion".
Britain's Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said it had banned the ad for "making a mockery" of the beliefs of Roman Catholics.
The advert appeared in The Lady and Grazia magazines earlier this year, prompting complaints from 10 readers that it was offensive to Christians, particularly those who practised Catholicism.
A spokeswoman for Antonio Federici said the company intended to flaunt the ban by publishing another advert portraying "a continuation of the theme".
"We intend to defy the ASA's ban and will publish another advert from the series before the Pope's visit later this week," she said.
"We are in the process of securing a series of billboards close to and along the planned route of the Pope's cavalcade around Westminster Cathedral."
The ASA said its rulings "must be followed".
A spokesman said: "ASA rulings must be followed and we are taking steps to ensure Antonio Federici do so.
"We do not comment on the likely compliance of ads that have not yet appeared.
"However, we are continuing to conduct work behind the scenes, including with the advertiser, to ensure they comply with the rules."
Defending the banned ad, Antonio Federici said the idea of "conception" represented the development of their ice cream, and their use of religious imagery stemmed from their strong feelings towards their product.
The company said it also wished 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".
The pope arrives in Edinburgh on Thursday to start a four-day state visit to Scotland and England.
He moves to London on Friday for two days and will move between his engagements by popemobile.
© 2010 AFP