An ad for AussieMite which appeared to deliberately poke fun at the Catholic religion has been pulled with a groveling apology from the makers of the product.
The “Sacrilicious” ad, which shows a worshipper dipping a communion host in a tub of the spread, a rival to Vegemite, which the brand said was “probably not to everyone’s taste”.
But a furious reaction from many Catholics on the brand’s Facebook page, calling for a boycott and asking Coles and Woolworths not to stock it, has led to the climb down.
In a statement posted over the weekend they said: “We sincerely apologise for any offence caused. It was never the intention to do so, but we recognise that for some it did.
“We have listened to your comments and removed any and all instances of the campaign from our social media channels.
“We are a small family-owned company looking to establish ourselves and a product we believe in and love.
“We sincerely hope that this will not dissuade you from buying AussieMite in the future.”
However, another posting showing a pot of the spread in a confessional saying “sorry” has also caused ire with one commenter posting “AussieMite hasn’t learnt anything it seems”.
The brand has also used it’s Twitter feed to respond to a series of angry comments, although it has also tweeted links to a child sex abuse case.
Grant Booker from the agency Grown Ups, which was behind the spot, also took to Facebook to defend it, saying he feels there has been an “overreaction” to it.
He added: “Let's face it the waffle is a bit tasteless. We didn't intend to offend anyone. In fact we ran the idea past a few of our Christian friends and they didn't have a proplem [sic] with the idea. They saw it as funny. But if we have caused offense we're sorry. “
A spokesperson for the Advertising Standards Bureau said they were “closing in on 50 complaints” about the ad, but added they may not be able to investigate if they get confirmation from the brand they have pulled it and will not use it again in any form.