There’s nothing better than controversy for a brand, as it attracts more attention than any regular ad ever could.
The trick is to do it in a way that goes up to the line, but doesn’t cross it.
In the case of Antonio Federici, an Italian ice cream brand, they may have done just that with their depiction of a nun and priest close to sexual contact in their ad in the UK.
Blasphemy ads in the UK say that “linking sex or sexualized images with religion” and “portraying nuns in a sexual manner” is not appropriate.
The ad is under review by the British Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), which will probably result in it being banned.
Complaints and opposition, as expected, have already occurred.
As I said, that has to be part of the strategy of the campaign, and they are getting significant coverage that they wouldn’t necessarily have had otherwise.
Personally and professionally, I think they may have crossed the line here, and it could backfire after the initial buzz dies down.