Antonio Federici Ice Cream Religion

British ice cream manufacturer Antonio Federici has hit the news headlines again with a new print advertising campaign banned because of religious sensitivities. The 2010 campaign for Gelato Italiano shows a heavily pregnant woman dressed as a nun standing in a church holding a tub of ice cream, with the text, “Immaculately Conceived … ICE CREAM IS OUR RELIGION”. In another ad from the campaign two male priests are poised for a kiss with ice cream, with the text, “We believe in salivation”. The campaign follows on from the equally controversial 2009 “Submit to Temptation” series featuring a priest and nun getting intimate with each other while holding Antonio Federici ice cream.

Nun eats ice cream in Antonio Federici Immaculately Conceived ad

Priests with ice cream in Antonio Federici Salivation ad

In a statement to the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority, Antonio Federici said the idea of “conception” represented the development of their ice cream. They said their decision to use religious imagery stemmed from their strong feelings towards their product (they cited the text “ICE CREAM IS OUR RELIGION”) and also from their wish to comment on and question, using satire and gentle humour, the relevance and hypocrisy of religion and the attitudes of the church to social issues. They believed the small number of complaints the ASA had received represented a very small proportion of the readership of the publications. They did not believe offence had been so deeply felt as to affect their right, as marketers, to free expression and that offence caused to a small minority should not affect the ability of the wider public to see their ad. They believed that, as a form of art and self-expression, advertising should be challenging and often iconoclastic.

The ASA in its adjudication noted that the CAP Code stated that ads “should contain nothing that is likely to cause serious or widespread offence. Particular care should be taken to avoid causing offence on the grounds of race, religion, sex, sexual orientation or disability. Compliance with the Code will be judged on the context, medium, audience, product and prevailing standards of decency”. The ASA considered the use of a nun pregnant through immaculate conception was likely to be seen as a distortion and mockery of the beliefs of Roman Catholics. The campaign was banned on the basis that using such an image in a light hearted way to advertise ice cream was likely to cause serious offence to readers, particularly those who practised the Roman Catholic faith.

Priest and nun with ice cream in Antonio Federici Temptation ad
Priest and nun with ice cream in Antonio Federici Temptation ad
Couple with ice cream in Antonio Federici Temptation ad
Couple with ice cream in Antonio Federici Temptation ad


Antonio Federici creative director Matt O’Connor worked alongside Contrast Creative, Manchester, with photography, models, props and styling produced by High Contrast.

See the Antonio Federici campaign on Facebook.

Filed under: Antonio Federici, Print

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  • Darryl barretto

    I personally a roman catholic… that the Ads shown should not ONLY be banned but also serious action needs to be taken against the company for marketing and promoting such atrocities against the sentiments of the catholic faith.

    • Simon

      Luckily we don’t live in a Theocracy. Many non-Catholics are offended deeply by the actions of many members of the Church, we get to suck it up; so do you.

      Me. I think the ads are sexy and funny.

    • Kwasi

      Get a grip! wotz so speacil about being a roman catholic?

      • Pete

        The company are a gutless bunch of morons. However, I will support their advertising campaign if they give equal coverage to Muslims. What is this, do I hear a deafening silence? Of course the Catholic church does not issue fatwas. Go for the easy target lads as you usually do.

  • Don

    What kind of serious action did you have in mind, Darryl? Auto da fe or just showing the implements?

  • steve

    as a roman catholic, i think that these ads are pretty funny, I reckon that Jesus Christ our lord and savior would have had a chuckle x

  • Arch

    I’m not Catholic. I’m not even religious. But these adds are disgusting! To mock any religion in this way is totally disrespectful. To take anyone’s beliefs and portray them in this way in an attempt to make commercial gains is very mistasetful. it appears to be an add series devised by newly graduated marketing students who have no idea of the real world and think that such a twee, seen so many times before, imagery is ‘cool’. I guess this ice cream may be tasty but I’m going to be giving it a miss. How totally disrespectful and amateur those adds are…

  • Michele

    Sacred cows make the best hamburgers, but the milk from sacred cows makes the best ice cream!

    • MB

      I completely agree with you. I’m not Catholic either and I think they are tasteless. Mocking someone’s religion is crossing a line, plain and simple.

      • MB

        and I had actually replied to Arch, but our comments posted at the same time. :-/ you’re not clever, either, Michele.

  • C.A.R

    I find it hilarious. It was not made to mock anyones religion, mainly to sell their product. In a artistic and marketing strategy point of view I find it rather cunning!

    • kyle

      And that what makes it so wrong. They have to disrespect something sensitive for the sake of profit. But maybe, to ignite an uproar is exactly what they want.

  • Teresea Kay Rodriguez

    Thats so funny I’m a Catholic and now I want some ice cream. BLASPHEMY LMFAO