The advertising regulator has ruled that a poster to promote a Demi Lovato album in the UK was likely to cause serious offence to Christians.
The image of the US pop singer’s album cover, which was plastered around six sites in London last August, showed her wearing a bondage-style outfit and lying on a large cushioned crucifix.
The headline stated “DEMI LOVATO” and “HOLY FVCK”, which was the name of the album.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) received complaints that the poster “was likely to cause serious or widespread offence”. Others also challenged “whether the ad was irresponsibly placed where children could see it”.
Lovato’s record company, Universal Music Operations Ltd, argued that it didn’t think the advert would cause widespread offence and had it approved by an agency before it was made public.
However, the ASA decided that the ad breached two rules in its CAP Code; responsible advertising and harm and offence.
In its assessment on whether the ad could cause offense on religious ground, the ASA said: “We considered that the image of Ms Lovato bound up in a bondage-style outfit whilst lying on a mattress shaped like a crucifix, in a position with her legs bound to one side which was reminiscent of Christ on the cross, together with the reference to “holy fvck”, which in that context was likely to be viewed as linking sexuality to the sacred symbol of the crucifix and the crucifixion, was likely to cause serious offence to Christians”.
The ad was removed after a four-day period on 23rd August 2022.
The ASA said the advert mustn't appear again, unless it is "suitably targeted". It also told Universal Music Operations Ltd to make sure "their ads did not cause serious or widespread offence in future".