You don't have to be a Christian to find the Easter promotion by the Hell Pizza chain offensive. On the grounds of its dismal witlessness alone, it is pretty objectionable.

For a start, their "hot cross buns" are decorated not with the traditional cruciform shape, but with an inverted pentagram, a design symbolic of Satanism.

That's some way from the usual symbols that represent Jesus' status as the Son of God nor the Resurrection.

This is likely to be a gratuitous, if incoherent, attempt at provocation - more likely given the campaign's incomprehensible tagline: "For a limited time. A bit like Jesus".


The company's director, one Warren Powell, disingenuously claims the campaign is trying to spark a debate - though what the subject for debate might be is not entirely clear.

But it is hard not to feel some sympathy for Christians, who are implicitly characterised as humourless if they object to the articles of their faith being ridiculed, or at least exploited, for commercial gain.

The tenets of Islam, Hinduism or Buddhism would not be so abused - quite possibly because the juveniles who design this sort of thing would not know enough about those religions to make fun of them. But the Christian religion is somehow seen as fair game.

The Hell Pizza chain has long specialised in shock advertising, much of which has been vulgar and offensive. Presumably they take the view that there is no such thing as bad publicity, but in that they may be wrong.

The company is well known for having less-than-harmonious relationships with some franchisees. Worse, the profusion of quality pizza outlets mean the competition for customers is getting hotter by the day.

Hell may well find that such a cynical and exploitative approach to advertising backfires on it sooner rather than later - and that customers, Christian and non-Christian - tell it to go to hell.