Mulberry 's Nativity handbag advert cleared by watchdog
A Christmas ad for luxury British brand Mulberry has been cleared after viewers complained that it was offensive for replacing the baby Jesus with a handbag.
The identical video ads on the company's website and YouTube showed a man giving a woman a Mulberry handbag as a gift in "light hearted" scenes reminiscent of the Christmas Nativity story.
But 42 viewers complained that the ad was blasphemous and offensive to Christians because it replaced the baby Jesus with a handbag and undermined central messages of their faith by using the important scene for the purpose of consumerism.
Mulberry said the comment, "Guys, it's just a bag", made by the man made it clear that no comparison with the baby Jesus was intended.
It said the Nativity scene was a central concept to British society and, as such, it was legitimate for a British company to use the scene in a way that would be recognisable by its customers and which reflected the humour of the brand and the fun and excitement of Christmas.
Mulberry said it did not believe the video would cause serious or widespread offence.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) noted that the ad was based on the bible story of the birth of the baby Jesus in a stable, and the visits by the shepherds and the wise men bearing gifts.
It said: "We acknowledged that the ad might not be to everyone's taste, but considered most viewers would understand it as a light hearted take on the Nativity story, intended to poke fun at the effect of consumerism on Christmas rather than mocking or denigrating Christian belief.
"Because of that, we considered the ad was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence."