Sony and Paddy Power ads upset Catholics

An ad celebrating the 10th anniversary of Sony's Playstation which ran in Italian newspapers and magazines has outraged Catholics. With the headline "Ten Years of Passion", the image is of a man with a wry smile wearing a crown of thorns in the shape of the triangles, circles and squares in the Playstation logo. Sony reportedly spent millions of pounds on the campaign which was to encompass print, tv and billboards.

This reworking of the sacred image caused a flood of complaints. Vatican official Cardinal Ersilio Tonini said: "You cannot adapt the Passion of Christ for an advert for a video game."

After complaints from the Vatican, Sony pulled the "blashphemous" ad and said they "deeply regret any offense caused".


Meanwhile, in Ireland, Irish bookmaker Paddy Power has had to find off the ire of angry Christians. The billboard on display in the Irish Capital depicts Jesus and the Apostles gambling at the Last Supper in a variation of Lenoardo da Vinci's famous painting of the Last Supper.

Father Micheal MacGreil, Jesuit priest at St Francis Xavier's Church in central Dublin, branded the advert "grossly inappropriate and vulgar."

"This is an insult to the religious sensitivities of a lot of people and should be withdrawn immediately," he told Reuters.

"To abuse this image, which is central to Christian beliefs, in a vulgar advertising campaign is totally and grossly inappropriate and Paddy Power should apologize to the people." Paddy Power acknowledged it had taken a "load of flak" over the advert.

"We didn't mean to offend anyone so if anyone takes offence apologies for that," said a spokesman for the bookmaker, also called Paddy Power.

"It's a tongue-in-cheek situation -- people aren't supposed to take it as seriously as some people seem to be," Power said.

There were no plans to withdraw the posters, he added.

Back in March, the Last Supper imagery was used in an ad for the fashion house Marithé and François Girbaud which was banned in Italy and France.

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