Insights ASA censures gaming company’s seriously offensive Easter email featuring cartoon-style image of crucifixion.

An email for Boylesports Enterprise, dated 25 March 2016, showed a hand nailed to a length of wood.  Blood dripped from where the nail entered the hand and a desert scene was shown in the background.  Large text stated “BOYLESPORTS GAMING – NAILED ON BONUS”.  Text on a sign hanging from the nail stated “BETWEEN 5 – 25 QUID”.  Text below the image stated “Hi [recipient’s name] – In memory of the dearly departed JC, we are offering you a sacrilecious [sic] Bonus this Easter weekend … So 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.”

Investigating a complaint that the ad mocked the Christian religion, the ASA considered that the image and the timing, together with the references in the text to “the dearly departed JC”, a “sacrilecious [sic]” bonus and “that’s disrespectful”, all contributed to the impression that the image was a reference not simply to a generic, historic crucifixion but to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.  Given that context, the ASA considered that the way in which the ad made light of the subject matter, with the play on words and the jokey language and the cartoon-style image of blood dripping from the hand pierced by the nail, was likely to cause serious offence to some recipients, particularly to those of the Christian faith at Easter, when the imagery would have a particularly strong resonance.  As such, the ASA considered that the ad was likely to cause serious offence and concluded that it was therefore in breach of CAP Code rule 4.1 (Harm and offence).  To read ASA ruling on Boylesports Enterprise (18 May 2016) in full, click here.