A Christmas ad for a red leather handbag in the UK has caused the proverbial stink after it was said to have been blasphemous for parodying the birth of Jesus and commercialising Christmas.
The ad for fashion brand Mulberry plays on the idea of a man giving his girlfriend a new handbag which is promptly visited by shepherds and a group of men that starts to resemble a famed Biblical tale about a newborn in a manger.
The ad sparked 42 complaints to Britain’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) after it was posted on YouTube. Many of the complaints said the ad commercialised the birth of Christ and was ‘blasphemous’. However, ASA ultimately ruled in favour of the fashion brand agreeing the spot was intended as humour.
In its defence, Mulberry argued that “offense was a subjective concept” and that the ad was supposed to be “light hearted”. It said the final line “Guys, it’s just a bag” shows that there was no comparison between a red leather bag and the baby Jesus.
ASA agreed that it could be seen as offensive to people who objected to the commercialisation of Christmas but ultimately ruled it had not breached any of its advertising codes.