Angel ad axed - ASA

2011-10-25 22:31

Johannesburg - The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has instructed a TV advert depicting angels falling from heaven because they are attracted to a man's deodorant, to be withdrawn, as it could offend Christians.

A viewer who complained to the ASA about the advert said the suggestion that angels - God's messengers - would literally fall for a man wearing this deodorant was incompatible with his belief as a Christian, according to the ruling by the ASA's directorate made on October 14. A copy of the ruling was sent to Sapa.

The advert for Axe deodorant depicts winged, attractive women crashing to earth in what appears to be an Italian town, and then being drawn towards and sniffing a young man who has used the deodorant. The text at the end of the ad reads: "Even angels will fall".

The directorate was concerned that the angels were depicted falling and, secondly, being attracted to a mortal man.

"As such, the problem is not so much that angels are used in the commercial, but rather that the angels are seen to forfeit, or perhaps forego their heavenly status for mortal desires. This is something that would likely offend Christians in the same manner as it offended the complainant."

While the directorate was mindful of the hyperbole employed in the advert, it was not convinced that this was sufficient to negate the offence experienced by the viewer.

The respondent in the matter, Unilever SA, was ordered to withdraw the commercial in its current format.

  • Steph - 2011-10-25 23:06

    oh grow up - I think it's a really funny advert - if you can be offended in your beliefs by something so trivial - then you clearly have a shaky foundation to start with boet

      Wouter - 2011-10-26 00:17

      Exactly. He should rather concentrate on making money for surgery to get that stick removed...

      Brian - 2011-10-26 05:52

      What a poor reflection on a country with supposed freedom of speech. If we continue to be so myopic, we may as well bring back the ox wagon as we are returning to 19th century standards!

      Sam - 2011-10-26 08:16

      Exactly. To paraphrase Steve Hughes; so what? Be offended. Nothing happens when you're offended. You don't go home and find that you now have leprosy because somebody offended you. You get over it. The dude that complained to the ASA has done more damage to Christians through this bad PR than the ad could ever have done. (I'm still not sure what damage the ad does to Christians)

      Heinrich - 2011-10-26 08:34

      Well I can make a statement saying that it is against my religious beliefs for them to try and stop the advert....

      Hans - 2011-10-26 09:07

      Correct me if I am wrong, but did this not happen in Bibical times? I did read somewhere that there are fallen angels and they did have earthly desires with us mere mortals. I am too lazy to look it up. Maybe someone out there knows soemthing?

  • Peter - 2011-10-25 23:45

    ASA is SO antiquated. Let the ads run. Let Christians punish Axe by not buying it's products.

      Adam - 2011-10-26 00:17

      Advertising is about getting the consumers attention amongst the plethora of other ads running.........seems Axe did exactly that....pulling them off the air just pumps the sales up higher

  • rlong1952 - 2011-10-25 23:46

    Hey don't let this be the start of a Christian bashing session. I am sure that not every Christian is in agreement with this and it may have been the complaint of one person that sparked it. With regard to the comment about what is so special about Christians that they need special protection, my comment is that if anything is said that could slightly offend Moslems it is harshly condemned. So what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. I am neither condoning or condemning this action of withdrawing the advert, but just don't want it to degenerate into ANOTHER Christian bashing session.

  • lourens.erasmus2 - 2011-10-25 23:53

    What is going on? This is political correctness gone mad. They might as well ban all ads because if this is the standard any ad will be offence to someone.

  • louwrens.nieuwoudt - 2011-10-26 00:05

    The image of an angel is so recognizable that you can immediately spot one. They're sparkly people with two white wings and occasionally swords, who sit on clouds ripping out harp solos while protecting humans from harm. There are several kinds of angels in the Bible and you've probably heard about some of them, like archangels, cherubim and seraphim. They all look different, and very few actually have wings. Those who do, like the seraphim, actually have six wings and need them to cover their body, lest they blind/incinerate whoever bump into one. Then there are the thrones, which are described in the Bible as "wheels within wheels," the rims of which are covered in eyes. Then we have the cherubim. As we all know, a cherub is a baby angel, usually with a little bow and arrow and a leaf protecting his modesty. Except that Ezekiel 10:14 describes them as frightening four-headed monstrosities that included the faces of a man, an eagle and a lion. Actually Came From: Painters took liberties when portraying angels, giving them wings was a visually interesting way to identify who was the angel in a painting full of regular dudes. Cherubs in particular didn't get their extreme makeover until Renaissance sculptors revived the ancient practice of putti, which depicted cute babies dancing and playing around on infant tombs. The rediscovery and reimplementation of these little cuties brought Cupid-esque cherubs into vogue, as demonstrated by Tomba di Ilaria del Carretto:

  • Russell - 2011-10-26 00:20

    I have been in the UK for a the last few months and they have a range of the axe adverts with falling angels they are hilarious. I cannot believe that SA would ban them. I always thought that the UK was so self righteous but it seems that SA is pathetically worse.

  • Wayne - 2011-10-26 00:36

    Just cause the "Christians" have imaginary friends, it should affect us all?

      Stephen - 2011-10-26 00:49

      Hey Wayne, you plonker. I am a Christian and I have no problem with the ad and think its quite brilliant. I find it in no way offensive. I do find your comment offensive. Just because you prefer to talk to yourself and hope you answer yourself back don't label us as having imaginery friends.

      Wayne - 2011-10-26 01:31

      That's great and I am very happy for you, the ad is obviously not banned cause of what you think about it, but what the christian society in general thinks of it, just as those feel it is offensive and tell the world that they think so, so am I allowed to express that I think that there is I feel that there is absolutely no reason to be offended, IMO. I am not trying to convert any christians here, simply, expressing what I think...and P.S, believe it or not, I am not the only one to share this opinion.

      Wayne - 2011-10-26 01:35

      LOL, the second sentence is supposed to read, I allowed to express that I feel that there is absolutely... I apologize, it's late.

      jerryvanzyl - 2011-10-26 07:43

      I converted from christianity at around 12. Now I pray to the Sun (Occasionally the Moon, depending on amount of liquor consumed) and I must say, I get about the same average in prayers answered, 50/50. AND I even get to SEE the Sun ... (and Moon, again angle of viewing depends on amount of toxicity in blood, usually at almost radioactive levels).

  • handsum.dee - 2011-10-26 00:55

    lord have mercy on all of you who are against the christians

      Brian - 2011-10-26 06:01

      Any fanaticism is dangerous, be it Islamic, Christian or whatever. Practice what you will, but everything in moderation!

  • Myth - 2011-10-26 01:49

    Fortunately for all christians are more forgiving than muslims, who would have your intestines for messing with their religion.

  • Andries - 2011-10-26 04:11

    I am offended that a small group of corrosively conservative and piously humourless christians can get a quite entertaining -of which there are so very few- ad pulled. Does that qualify as a argument to keep running the ad? I think so.

  • zaatheist - 2011-10-26 04:21

    Anytime someone says you can’t criticize their beliefs, it’s because their beliefs are too weak to withstand scrutiny.

  • raymond.kok3 - 2011-10-26 04:36

    stop being so anal get a life moron

  • marcel.f.meijer - 2011-10-26 05:42

    Everytime Malema comes up I feel offended, can the ASA remove him as well (haha)

  • Zion - 2011-10-26 05:59

    The ASA has taken a long time to reach that conclusion. In fact the Advertisement in question is not funny or interesting but rather bland. seen it once is ok but several times it becomes a real bore.

  • Adrian - 2011-10-26 06:15

    You have to fight for your religion. Not caring is why the UK will probably have a Muslim gov in about 5 years time.

      Lynette - 2011-10-26 07:13

      If you are a Christian and have a religion, you're doing it wrong - Christianity is about faith and a relationship with Jesus.

      John - 2011-10-26 07:51

      @Adrian - Your complete lack of knowledge is quite scary. The UK population consists of less than 10% of people whom follow Islam. They are just very loud hence it seems there are more of them. The UK will never have an Islam government. Why does one need to fight for their religion, if your god is omnipotent? Why would an omnipotent deity need a mere mortal to fight for them? If this is the case then the deity is quite pathetic don't you think?

      JL - 2011-10-26 08:58

      @adrian. Just how misguided and ignorant are you? Pick up a book.

  • steven.m.armour - 2011-10-26 06:36


  • jason.dutoit - 2011-10-26 06:44

    as a christian, i find the notion of this advert being offensive ridiculous. firstly, nowhere in the bible are angels depicted as female, so what is what being depicted in the advert is not connected to christianity (in my opinion). the bible speaks repeatedly of not taking offense (at various things) in the bible: matthew 11:6, 13:57, 15:12, 24:10, mark 6:3, luke 7:23, john 6:61, 1 corinthians 13:5, 1 peter 2:8. i could probably find more without having to look too hard. the bible expects us not to act in an offended manner! and so, i find it hard to justify this advert being withdrawn. this is surely the case of a misinformed individual who thinks (mistakenly) that christianity needs to be defended. as a christian, i for one am not offended in the slightest by this ad. neither is my wife (also christian). i am certain that a quick poll of my christian friends would find none of them offended either.

  • ian.d.samson - 2011-10-26 06:55

    Oh please! FPS! They pull an ad like this but they refuse to bleep out every blasphemy (Thou shalt not use the name of the Lord thy God in vain) which is a million times more offensive to Christians than falling angels!

  • Malcolm - 2011-10-26 07:00

    Unilevers mens vaseline advert has been the most offensive I have ever seen. The vaseline logo kept popping up at crucial moments in the various games, obstructing my television viewing. As a result I will never buy that product. Also that stupid gay Harpic advert offends me. I hate gay men popping up in my living room every so often, particularly looking down a toilet bowl. Unilevers advertising crew should have been fired a long time ago. How such a proffessional company hires such incompetent fools to do their advertising, is beyond me. How none of the thousands of proffessional people who work there have not noticed how truly useless the advertising is, is beyond belief.

  • ffaarg - 2011-10-26 07:03

    I would not have been offended. And if we banned anything that might be offensive then almost nothing would get made. I think the issue could perhaps be if the public advertisement was intentionally offensive then it would not be aired. But the premise sounds pretty lame.

  • domenic.botha - 2011-10-26 07:07

    "A viewer complained" Just one? This viewer should complain against the crime maybe something will happen.

  • Don - 2011-10-26 07:13

    Well done ASA. Thanks to the person that brought the complaint and for having taken a stand for Christianity. People have no right to use the convictions and deep belief of their faith to advance their products. People who do are acting with disregard to the rights and beliefs of others with malice.

      ffaarg - 2011-10-26 07:16

      Which Christian beliefs did they attack exactly? As a Christian I would like to know.

      phillip.havenga - 2011-10-26 07:51

      Don I just don't see how this advert is offensive as a Christian I found it amusing there are more offensive things happening out there than this advert, if they had for example used either Jesus or God in the advert then I would say lets take them on but come on.

      Sam - 2011-10-26 08:20

      So, Don, you think it's right that what the rest of the world gets to see and be entertained by should be based on something you believe in?

      Karmah - 2011-10-26 09:09

      If it was an advert depicting your god falling out of the sky, then it would be offensive. You believe in a god, not angels... pfffft

  • Norval - 2011-10-26 07:17

    Axe the hervormde kerk, they still argue if apartheid is right or wrong...christian like?

  • Kevin - 2011-10-26 07:34

    If an ad effects christians it is one thing . If it is derogatory towards what Gods word stands for then the ad must go. Rather sad to see how many people do not give a damn.

  • Jacquelene - 2011-10-26 07:38

    Ag no, what next??

  • Ron - 2011-10-26 07:54

    Ek moet se dit is skrikwekkend hoeveel mense teen christenskap in suid afrika is en dit probeer afkraak met spottery. Ek praat nie van die advertensie nie maar almal se kommentaar.

  • Ivan - 2011-10-26 08:22

    The complainer is obviously a miffed axe user who masturbates a lot in front of his computer and has had no angels fall out of the sky for his poor deluded self. What a Twat!

  • carvern - 2011-10-26 08:31

    Sounds like this guy tried it and nothing work ha ha ha lol

  • Oompiet - 2011-10-26 08:33

    Madness!!! I reckon it would have been a nice one.

  • Christine - 2011-10-26 08:41

    I love how in our country ads are challenged based on ridiculous assumptions made by consumers but never challenged based on unbelievable claims made and claims that can't be substantiated which should be the actual basis for a challenge.

  • Bianca - 2011-10-26 08:42


  • lindsay.yarrow - 2011-10-26 08:44

    Okay. So 1 person complained, right? In that case: 'Juliaas, you're a box. Off you go'. I'm waiting...

  • jason.dutoit - 2011-10-26 09:17

    not to mention the fact that plenty of angels have already fallen from heaven... biblically speaking

  • RynoLeGrange - 2011-10-26 09:47

    I can't recall female angels in Christianity

  • Kent - 2011-10-26 10:39

    Just about anything can offend Christians. Grow up ASA.

  • OccamsMachete - 2011-10-26 13:41

    This complaint has the stench of professional victim Errol Naidoo all over it.

  • darren.peach - 2011-10-26 17:30

    That is very wrong. We all have our own opinion on things and because someone lacks a sense of humour the add gets banned. What happened to freedom of speech. All it takes is some idiot who is narrow minded and this happens. If they can ban this then what else will they ban. Pathetic.

  • fruityfigtree - 2011-10-27 08:43

    The irony! Genesis 6:1-4 describes how the angels/fallen watchers interbred with the women on earth and produced offspring. Their offspring were beautiful at first until God cursed them and they became hideous giants. Those angels did rebel against God by their actions in pursuit of Adam’s inheritance and thus forfeited their heavenly orders and God judged them for trying to impose upon His plan for mankind. It’s ironic how some Christians find this ad offensive to the point where they would request it to be removed from television because the thought of angels falling and forfeiting their heavenly orders is uncomfortable for them. Although it IS an abomination to God, should the scriptures about these angels and their deeds be removed from the bible too? It just goes to show how some Christians are ignorant for a lack of true stewardship whereby we are daily sobered by grace and focus on Jesus Christ instead of marketing campaigns with religious overtones.

      TheRealQJ90 - 2011-10-27 11:06

      i have sent an email to the CEO of the ASA informing them of the rediculousness of the viewers complaint and pointing out to them the Genesis passage as i too am aware of the biblical nature behind the truth of the ad. and the irony is- Im a Christian and i LOVE the ad! i think a petition is in order to oppose the ad being taken off the air!

  • Nicolene - 2011-10-27 11:03

    It's no wonder we as Christians are "axed" (pun intended!) for being narrow-minded. I'm a Christian and the ad didn't offend me at all, actually I thought it was quite a new approach to advertising a product!But there are a small amount of Christians with a belief built on a sandy foundation, waiting for the wave of society to wash it away. Which is a truely sad story!Mr or Mrs Whoever-you-are, don't put other God given talents down just beacause you are narrow minded and selfish!

  • sheldon.worrall - 2011-10-27 13:00

    come on pathetic!! how can this be axed.. some people like to just complain. these people effect others beliefs but a soon as they not happy things must be stopped. shame on you!

  • Wayne - 2011-10-28 07:29

    To the viewer that complained, shame you're a pathetic, narrow minded person...what a pity this country still gives in to religious freaks at the time...nice comment Steph

  • calvedosdanizy - 2011-10-28 13:36

    There at least 2 instances i can count in the bible of angels lusting after and falling for humans and then having sex with them. Genesis 6:1-4. I used that deodorant and had an angel on my tail just the other day. This add is actually in line with the Christian faith.

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