London: Britain`s advertising watchdog on Wednesday banned a mobile phone company commercial which featured a cartoon Jesus who winked and gave a thumbs-up gesture.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled that the Phones 4 U campaign, which carried the slogan: "Miraculous deals on Samsung Galaxy Android phones", appeared to be mocking the Christian faith.
"We considered that, although the ads were intended to be light-hearted and humorous, their depiction of Jesus winking and holding a thumbs-up sign, with the text "miraculous" deals during Easter, the Christian Holy Week which celebrated Christ`s resurrection, gave the impression that they were mocking and belittling core Christian beliefs," the ASA said.
"We therefore concluded that the ads were disrespectful to the Christian faith and were likely to cause serious offence, particularly to Christians."
The cartoon depiction of Jesus with a Sacred Heart on his chest drew 98 complaints over both the content and the timing of its appearance in the national press on April 21, Maundy Thursday.
Phones 4 U said they "understood and regretted" that offence had been caused, adding they were trying to show "a light-hearted, positive and contemporary image" of Christianity.