Two years ago, Nike was criticized for featuring football athelete Wayne Rooney in a cross-pose which was described as “chilling” by a story on the Daily Mail.
An inadvertent reprise to this is a recent ad for Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao in anticipation of his fight with Oscar dela Hoya:
Advertising blogger, WAWAM, describes the ad as offensive to Christian sensibilities:
the art director choosing to show manny with his hands stretched apart is not really to show manny in prayer, but it mimicks the position of Christ on the cross. manny’s hands stretched out that way in front of a cross is what i find offensive. it violates one of the most revered images in the catholic faith – Christ’s sacrifice of his life during the crucifiction. the nike ad wants us to think that manny is nailed to the cross, as Christ was. that is very offensive.
Granted that the cross symbol is important to Christians, but the usage is so ubiquitious and prevalent throughout history that perhaps the religious sentiment might be taking it a little too seriously.
However, the Pacquiao ad does have blatant references to Christian prayers–which to a country like the Philippines that is 80% Catholic might be really toeing the line of religious tolerance.