Beer brand's 'Jesus in bunny suit' tweet deemed 'not derogatory' by ASA

The Advertising Standards Authority has rejected a complaint against a tweet sent at Easter by a beer company, which included an image of Jesus wearing a rabbit costume.

However, the tweet in question no longer appears on the Twitter feed of Banks's, a cask ale owned by listed brewer Marston's.

The 12 April tweet stated: "Easter is on it’s [sic] way #easter #beer #tellitlikeitis #Wolverhampton." It was accompanied by an image (above) of a graffiti depiction of Jesus sitting on a bench, wearing a rabbit costume, with a halo above his head. The head of the rabbit costume was beside him on the bench.

A complaint argued that the image trivialised Christiainty and said the ad was offensive.

Marston's responded by saying that the image "was intended to highlight the commercialisation of Easter which had prevailed over the traditional meaning of the festival" and "that they had intended the tweet to be pro-Christianity and did not seek to trivialise the faith", according to the ASA ruling.

The ASA "acknowledged that the depiction of Jesus, and particularly the timing of the tweet, could be interpreted as distasteful by some people of a Christian faith". The ruling continued: "However, we considered that most people would not find the portrayal of Jesus to be mocking or derogatory. Because we considered that the ad was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence, we concluded that it had not breached the Code."

Other tweets sent by Banks's around the same period include the "Tells it like it is" slogan or #tellitlikeitis as part of comments about emojis, lager, Valentine's Day and other topics.

A version of this story was first published by PRWeek


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