Sterling Bank apologises over ‘offensive’ Easter ad



Sterling Bank Plc has yielded to public criticisms and the threat of sanction by the Advertising Practitioner Council of Nigeria, APCON, over its Easter message that linked the resurrection of Jesus Christ to ‘Agege Bread,’ and apologised to Christians.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Bank, Abubakar Suleiman made the apology in a statement on Tuesday.

According to Suleiman, the message had no ‘malicious intent’ and has been withdrawn with immediate effect.

In the celebration of Easter on April 17, Sterling Bank had posted an Easter advertisement on social media platforms and also sent its customers through email. “The message contained a picture of a golden-brown bread divided into two with the caption ‘Like Agege Bread, He Rose!” Agege bread is a popular Nigerian bread known for its soft, stretchy and chewy texture.”

The Advertising Practitioner Council of Nigeria (APCON) through its Chief Executive Officer, Dr Olalekan Fadolapo, said the bank will face sanction for the “provocative Easter celebration advertisement”. “

APCON, said it takes a strong exception to an Easter advertisement ran by Sterling Bank of Nigeria, describing it as insensitive and unprofessional.

According to the Registrar of APCON, Dr Olalekan Fadolapo, the organisation said it had viewed with displeasure the the “insensitive and provocative Easter celebration advertisement by Sterling Bank, PLC, which compared the resurrection of Christ with Agege bread.”

Frowning at the conduct it considered unprofessional, APCON, said the “distasteful advert was neither submitted nor approved for exposure by the Advertising Standard Panel, the statutory Panel charged with the responsibility of ensuring that advertisements conform with with the prevailing laws of the federation as well as code of ethics of Advertising.”

It said, “APCON will take necessary actions to ensure that Sterling Bank is sanctioned for 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.”