Birmingham & Black Country

Birmingham shop advert deemed 'offensive' to Sikhs

A television advert for a Birmingham furniture shop has been banned because it was "likely to cause serious offence" to the Sikh community.

The ad for The Sofa Factory featured a picture of Guru Nanak, the Sikh religion's founder, and a soundtrack in the style of sacred verses.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) upheld a complaint following a broadcast on Sangat TV.

It ruled the advert must not be shown again.

The ASA said: "We considered that the use of the central icon of the Sikh faith and the use and distortion of religious verses to advertise products made light of those important elements of the Sikh faith in a way that was likely to cause serious offence to some members of the Sikh community."

It added that the shop had acknowledged receipt of the complaint and that Sangat TV, a channel aimed at broadcasting to the Sikh community, had given assurances that it would no longer broadcast the advert.

A member of the Sikh Council UK in Birmingham, Balvinder Kaur, did not believe the intention of the advert was to cause offence.

Ms Kaur said: "They're very good Sikhs.

"I just think it wasn't thought through very carefully.

"I think because it was an attractive tune, that was what it was based on more than anything else."

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