An Easter advertisement by Sterling Bank Plc linking the resurrection of Christ to the rising of Agege Bread was labeled as disrespectful and inflammatory by the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria on Monday.
The ad copy was also not submitted for approval before it was made public, according to APCON.
APCON stated the advertisement was disgusting in a statement signed by its Registrar and Chief Executive, Olalekan Fadolapo, on Monday, and that Sterling Bank Plc will be penalised for it.
The bank drew criticism after a now-deleted social media post over the weekend, in which the same copy was distributed to the bank’s customers’ email addresses.
‘Like Agege Bread, He Rose…’ said the copy, which featured a puffed, golden brown, halved Agege Bread. ‘Happy Easter,’ I said.
Many social media users chastised Sterling Bank Plc for the derogatory analogy, and the bank removed the posts from its social media accounts in the wake of the anger, which was largely directed towards Christians.
The bank then added the statement, ‘…let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone,’ to another image of an opening tomb symbolizing Christ’s departure from the grave.
In a statement, APCON, on the other hand, denounced the bank’s behavior, calling it blasphemous.
‘Sterling Bank Agege Bread Easter Advertisement,’ stated the statement.
“The Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria has noted with disgust Sterling Bank Plc’s insensitive and inflammatory Easter celebration advertising, which equated Christ’s resurrection to Agege Bread,” it stated.
“The nasty commercial was neither submitted nor approved for exposure by the Advertising Standards Panel, the statutory panel entrusted with ensuring that advertisements comply with the federation’s current laws as well as the Nigerian Advertising Code of Ethics.
“APCON will take all necessary steps to ensure that Sterling Bank is sanctioned in accordance with the law for the exposure of such offensive advertising, and that no religious belief or faith is mocked, nor any blasphemous advertisement is exposed in any form.”