The publicity for Phones 4 U, which was used in the national press on April 21 , showed Jesus with the Sacred Heart on his chest and the slogan “Miraculous deals on Samsung Galaxy Android phones”.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said yesterday that the advert should not be used again because it gave the impression that Christianity was being mocked.
The ASA said: “We considered that, although the ads were intended to be light-hearted and humorous, their depiction of Jesus winking and holding a thumbs-up sign, with the text ‘miraculous deals’ during Easter, the Christian Holy Week which celebrated Christ’s resurrection, gave the impression they were mocking and belittling core Christian beliefs.
“We therefore concluded that the ads were disrespectful to the Christian faith and were likely to cause serious offence, particularly to Christians.”
Phones 4 U said that it had not intended to cause offence or show disrespect for the Christian faith, instead aiming to show “a light-hearted, positive and contemporary image” of the religion.
However with the benefit of hindsight, and in the face of complaints, they “understood and regretted” that offence had been caused.
The adverts were withdrawn and apologies sent to everyone who complained.