The National Association of Catholic Families, the Catholic Truth Society, members of the public and an MP complained to the Advertising Standards Authority, and healthcare advertising agency MJL pulled the nationwide campaign immediately.
The ad watchdog ruled that the ad was offensive on religious grounds because "Immaculate Contraception" was likely to be seen as a pun on the Roman Catholic dogma of the immaculate conception.
However, the complaints that the ad was irresponsible on the grounds that it could encourage casual sex and trivialised unwanted pregnancy was not upheld because the ad made did make clear that Levonelle should not be used instead of normal contraceptives.
The full ad read: "Immaculate Contraception? If only. It might be Christmas but condoms still spit and pills still get forgotten. So if your contraception lets you down ask for Levonelle One Step. It's now one pill that works best within 24 hours of unprotected sex but can be used up to 72 hours after.
"Levonelle One Step should not replace regular long-term contraception. Advice on contraception is available free from your GP, Family Planning Clinic or NHS Walk-in Centre."
The ad was created by MJL for Schering-Plough, the pharmaceutical company that owns Levonelle.
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