Regulators pull potato chip ad that stoked outrage for mocking Eucharist: 'This is a hate crime'

Italian company Amica Chips stoked outrage among Roman Catholics for a 30-second TV ad that replaced the Eucharist with potato chips.
Italian company Amica Chips stoked outrage among Roman Catholics for a 30-second TV ad that replaced the Eucharist with potato chips. | Screengrab: amicachipsofficial/Youtube

Italy’s advertising standards authority pulled a 30-second TV ad by an Italian snack company after it stoked outrage and accusations of blasphemy among Roman Catholics for replacing the Eucharist with potato chips.

The Institute of Advertising Self-Discipline yanked the ad for Amica Crisps, which depicts a heavy-set mother superior at a convent pulling a bag of chips from the cabinet when she realizes the ciborum is out of Eucharistic wafers.

When a group of nuns later receives the Eucharist during Mass, one of them is pleasantly surprised when she receives a potato chip instead of a wafer. After the camera pans to the obese mother superior chowing down on the rest of the chips in the sacristy, the ad closes with "il divino quotidiano," which means, "the divine everyday."

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The commercial prompted backlash from many Catholics who claim it was irreverent toward the Eucharist, which the Catholic Church teaches is transubstantiated into the literal body of Christ during the Mass.

Lorenzo Marini Group, the company behind the ad, acknowledged that the commercial was "irreverent," but claimed it was "aimed at a young target audience" and that they were going for "a strong British-style note of irony," according to The Telegraph.

Giovanni Baggio, who heads a Catholic association that monitors TV and radio, blasted the TV spot as "blasphemy" and said it "offends the sensitivity of millions of practicing Catholics," according to The Guardian.

Baggio also said the commercial "shows a lack of respect and creativity," and is "a sign of an inability to do marketing without resorting to symbols that have nothing to do with consumption and crunchy food."

Baggio's group, the Italian Association of Radio and Television Listeners, filed a formal complaint requesting the ad be removed from the air, claiming it "offends the sensibility of millions of practicing Catholics."

Avvenire, a Catholic newspaper run by the Italian Bishops’ Conference, accused the crisp company in an editorial of cheapening the body of Christ to a snack food, according to the Catholic Herald.

"Christ has been reduced to a potato chip," the newspaper wrote. "Debased and vilified like 2,000 years ago."

The newspaper further accused the ad of "spitting" on Jesus "just as the Roman soldiers did to him before his crucifixion."

Gavin Ashenden, who served as Queen Elizabeth II's chaplain until leaving the Church of England in 2017 to become Catholic, echoed the complaints about the ad during an interview with GB News this week.

Ashenden, who also serves as an editor at the Catholic Herald, pushed back against any assertion that Christians offended by the commercial are lacking a sense of humor.

"The Gospels are full of Jesus telling jokes, and we're very much in favor of humor because humor brings down pompous, powerful people, but this isn't humor," he said. "This is a hate crime. This is something that's right at the heart of what we believe as Catholics, and it's precious to us. The mockery of it is as deeply offensive as one could imagine."

Ashenden went on to assert that no company would dare mock Muhammad or gay marriage, just as no one in China would make fun of the Chinese Communist Party and no one in Russia would ridicule Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"Why should the hate crimes that are being aimed at Christians be the only ones that people are exempt from being responsible for? It's really profoundly offensive, and it should be stopped," he said.

Ashenden also noted the irony of the fact that the ability to mock Christianity with impunity is a fruit of the tolerance that emerged from Christian thought, which he warned is steadily eroding as popular culture continues to undermine it.

"The only reason this can happen in Europe is because we have a Christian atmosphere in which people are free to express themselves," he said. "But if you destroy the very foundation upon which human freedom has been built, then you might lose the freedom. And you don't have freedom in Iran, China or Russia. So don't knock the Christian culture, which has produced the very freedom that this crisp company are abusing."

Jon Brown is a reporter for The Christian Post. Send news tips to

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