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Gold, frankincense, myrrh and Red Bull

Marketplace Staff Dec 5, 2007


Scott Jagow: A new TV commercial in Italy depicted the nativity scene. The three wisemen are in it. So is the baby Jesus and his mother. But there’s a fourth wiseman. And his gift to Mary is . . . a can of Red Bull.

As you can imagine, this didn’t go over very well with the Catholic Church. Megan Williams has more from Rome.

Megan Williams: While an exhausted post-partum Mary might have appreciated a caffeine boost, a Sicilian priest finds it in bad taste.

Father Marco Diamanti calls the TV ad, which depicts an extra wiseman delivering a can of Red Bull to Mary and Baby Jesus, blasphemous. He let the soft drink company know, and it pulled the ad. Diamanti also objects to the motto “Red Bull gives you wings,” but that won’t likely change.

Poking fun at Christianity in ads is hardly new here. For years, Lavazzo coffee has run commercials with Italian actors depicted as angels in paradise, discussing how heavenly the coffee is.

Those commercials have escaped the wrath of the Catholic church, but others haven’t. Sony and Madonna are just two who have had their ads pulled or banned for religious reasons.

In Rome, I’m Megan Williams for Marketplace.

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