Yesterday started off with a bang. We received word from Unilever that their TV commercial for Axe Excite had been deemed inappropriate by the ASA. The storyline has angels falling to Earth and giving up their divinity because of the seductive powers of the new fragrance. The ASA received a complaint that the depiction of Angels was potentially offensive to Christians. This needed some sort of immediate response.

Here’s the full length ad that caused the furore (does one man constitute a furore?)

Full Length Ad

After some quick back and forth with the client we had a response up and live next to posts about the ban.

The web was quick to cover the banning with articles appearing on News24, Mail & Guardian, IOL2OceansVibe, MarketingWeb, Life is Savage, BizCommunity and several other sites, including the Telegraph in the UK. Someone even weighed in with whether or not it’s constitutional. Hundreds of comments have been posted and discussions all over the web have sprung up on the merits of the decision. The Twitterati have weighed in too:

@Mr CapeTown And the AXE South Africa retaliation to their latest “even Angels will fall advert” – quality!

@Quinn25 Now I WILL buy #axe RT @busrep: Advertising Standards Authority instructed advert depicts angels falling withdrawn as may offend Christians

@NickdeBruyne RT @ChrisOnderstall: Banned Axe commercial, I love the falling angels --> I actually think it was an amazing ad wow.

@Janna_Joseph Awesome Axe ad gets banned. Those angels won’t be happy…

@AmandaSevasti ASA decision on Axe “Angels” ad is ludicrous. I thought commercial speech was entitled to some freedom of expression

At the very least, the banning has opened up the potential for some very fun responses. Interesting times ahead.