Sony has agreed to stop using a series of adverts which feature a young man wearing a crown of thorns and the motto 'ten years of passion' in reference to the PlayStation's tenth birthday.
On close inspection the crown is encrusted with the iconic Sony PlayStation buttons often used in the company's marketing.
Sony Italy expressed regret over the reaction to the advert, insisting that the "spirit of the message was misunderstood".
Others are suggesting that it is all a publicity stunt which has already generated millions of pounds worth of free media coverage.
Sony's ad is not the first to upset Catholics in recent months. "There's no religion any more," read a slogan for Ikea in an advert to inform Italians, whose Church attendance is steadily falling, that its furniture stores were open on a Sunday.
And adapted versions of Leonardo Da Vinci's Last Supper have been controversially used by a French fashion designer, and an Irish bookmaker which depicted the original Christians gambling.
David Pincott, managing director of marketing agency Pirate Communications, said: "I think this is a classic misjudgement by Sony. You could get away with something like that in the UK but not in Italy where there is a lot of sensitivity about the use of religious imagery.
"I don't think it was a deliberate piece of guerrilla marketing. Perhaps it's part of a global campaign that should not have been put into use in Italy."
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