The Advertising Practitioners of Council of Nigeria (APCON) has threatened sanction against Sterling Bank over what it observed as offensive ‘Agege Bread’ advert the Bank posted during this year’s Easter festival.
Sterling Bank Plc., came under heavy knocks following the advert celebrating Easter; a Christian festival commemorating the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
In a statement signed by Dr. Olalekan Fadolapo, the Registrar/Chief Executive, APCON said it observed with displeasure the insensitive and provocative Easter celebration advertisement by Sterling Bank Plc which compared the resurrection of Christ with Agege Bread.
Earlier in his comments, Mr. Chido Nwakanma, President, International Association of Business Communicators (IABC), Africa, said that the Bank should remove its corporate communications team over the gaffe.
“Unless they are equally complicit, the Management of Sterling Bank should clear its Corporate Comms (sic) team on Tuesday. Everyone involved in preparing and placing that obnoxious ad that pokes noxious fingers into the eyes of all Christians in Nigeria should not be involved in communications one day extra.
“Have you seen the obnoxious and insulting ad? A corporate entity such as Sterling Bank signs off on an ad that compares the basis of the Christian faith to Agege Bread. It is the height of idiocy! It is an offensive joke.
“The resurrection of Christ is the foundation of our faith as Christians. Blaze comparisons in the name of creativity are offensive.
“Then Sterling Bank worsens the offence by offering a non-apology. The uninformed copy asks us to “Forgive in the Spirit of Easter” but confirms they are not sorry. It states, “Let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone”. Foolishness!
“For our recent errors, we sincerely apologize. We humbly celebrate his resurrection, the defeat of death and the hope of salvation”.
(Please prefer “apologise” with an S for UK English in Nigeria!) Which dullards did this? Is it because Christians have few bomb-throwers and arsonists?
“Note that it would be compounding the offence to reproduce the offensive ad.
“Remember that Sterling Bank committed a similar offence in 2018 with its “In shooting for the moon, men become stars” ad. It similarly apologised. Is that the Sterling Bank tradition? Put two feet in the mouth and then say sorry? Not good at all.
“APCON should check. Did the Advertising Standards Panel approve this ad?” he queried.
APCON has now responded:
“The distasteful advertisement was neither submitted nor approved for exposure by the Advertising Standards Panel (ASP), the statutory panel charged with the responsibility of ensuring that advertisements conform with the prevailing laws of the federation as well as the code of ethics of advertising in Nigeria.
“APCON will take necessary actions to ensure that Sterling Bank is sanctioned for the exposure of such offensive advertisement according to law and that no religious belief or faith is ridiculed or any blasphemous advertisement exposed in any disguise”, the statement concludes.