AUSTRALIAN-OWNED company AussieMite have apologised for a new advertising campaign depicting a sacramental wafer being dipped into their product AussieMite during a Catholic mass.
A woman receiving Communion uses her wafer to dip into the black yeast product, before offering a taste to the priest. The ad finishes with the line “It’s sacrilicious”.
The advertisement has caused offence amongst the Catholic community, with many taking to Facebook and YouTube with calls to boycott the product.
“Disrespectful and disgusting,” says Mahir Murad. “I’m one customer that will never buy this product again.”
Mary Guy states: “I am deeply offended. Your clip shows no respect to religion.”
The ad’s creator, Mick Hunter from Sydney agency Grown-Ups, yesterday defended the ad and said it was intended to create a stir.
“It’s probably a bit sacrilegious to the faithful but they are dwindling in popularity as we speak,” he told the Herald Sun.
AussieMite director Elise Ramsey said there was no offence intended, and the campaign was a tactic to challenge the dominant players in the yeast spread market — Vegemite, owned by American company Kraft, and Dick Smith’s Ozemite.
“I’m Catholic and I don’t find it offensive. It’s simply meant to be a talking-piece,” Ms Ramsey said yesterday.
“I hope that Australia finds it funny.”
AussieMite have today issued a statement on their Facebook page apologising for any offence caused.
“Please understand that we didn’t intend to offend anyone, we only wanted to highlight how delicious AussieMite is,” says the statement.
“We hope that you find it in your heart to forgive us for any offence caused and that you release any ill feelings towards us and our product.”
AussieMite have in recent years tried to expand into the UK market, and is stocked at Waitrose and Selfridges.