Watchdog rejects 'crucifixion' advert complaints

Online charities lottery monday escaped the wrath of advertising watchdogs last week after viewers objected to one of its television adverts.

The Advertising Standards Authority rejected 23 complaints from viewers who were offended by an advert for the lottery that appeared to parody the crucifixion of Christ. Five viewers also raised concerns about the use of an apparently religious theme to promote gambling. After an investigation, the ASA said it did not think the advert had caused serious or widespread offence.

"It was meant to be light-hearted, so it's a sensible decision on the part of the ASA," said Stuart Handley, communications director at Chariot, the lottery's operator.

The advert, screened in April, featured a man dressed in a white tracksuit suspended from a lamppost holding a carton of eggs. He told a crowd beneath him: "I, Derek Gravity, bring news of a miracle. Britain's new lottery has arrived. Be not seduced by the corner retailer. Begone purveyor of cow juice. Go, go towards the light of your computer screens."

A shop owner then poked him in the ribs.

Monday's advertising agency, M&C Saatchi, told the ASA that none of the charities associated with the lottery had expressed concern about the advert.

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