Boylesports’ attempt at creativity has landed the company in hot water with the UK advertising regulator.
Last Easter, the bookmaker sent out an email promotion to punters that showed a hand nailed to piece of wood against a desert background, complete with the strapline “Nailed on Bonus,” according to The Guardian.
The accompanying text invited players to take part in a “sacrilecious [sic] bonus” for the Easter weekend “in memory of the dearly departed JC.”
“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,” according to the email promotion, which ran from March 24 to March 27.
One recipient, however, found the ad “offensive and mocked the Christian religion at an important time in the Christian year,” and called the attention of the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), prompting the regulator to order a ban on the ad.
“We considered that the ad was likely to cause serious offense and concluded that it was therefore in breach of the [advertising] code,” ASA said in its Wednesday ruling.
Boylesports attempted to play down the crucifixion link, saying “there was no religious symbolism” in the ad which only depicted the image of a hand and that “crucifixion was a common practice in Christ’s time.”
The advertising regulator, however, dismissed Boylesports’ argument saying it was clear the ad made a direct reference to Jesus Christ. Likewise, the timing, the “jokey” language, and using elements—such as the play on words and the cartoon-style image of blood dripping from the hand pierced by a nail—which clearly made light of the subject of crucifixion “were likely to cause serious offense to some recipients.”
“We considered the offense was likely to be particularly strong felt by those of the Christian faith at Easter, when the imagery would have a particularly strong resonance,” ASA said.