Did the Pope agree to endorse Bovril?

I cam across this image depicting the Pope drinking Bovril in an advert http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:The_Pope_and_Bovril.jpg. The accompanying text reads: “Bovril holds the unusual position of having been advertised with Papal approval.”

Did the Vatican really approve of this? if so, how did the makers pull this off?

Smells like piping hot Papal Bull to me.

I’m not sure that advertisers needed permission to grab the images of public figures in the nineteenth century. (For that matter, public images of public figures seem to show up in ads, today. Benetton has run ads with Pope Benedict appearing to kiss the head of an Egyptian mosque, (as well as Israel’s Netanyahu kissing Palestine’s Abbas and Obama kissing Chavez of Venezuela).)

I cannot say that Bovril never got (or sought) permission to include Leo XIII’s likeness in their ads, but I would guess that they simply used it.

Dunno about Bovril, but it appears Pope Leo XIII really was a fan of Vin Mariani (which was basically wine with cocaine).

What I find very odd in the ad is that it apparently comes from the UK, which is hardly a place of Papal fandom. It seems a very strange choice of subject for a British audience.

Catholicism is a pretty large minority religion in the UK, something like 10% of the population as I recall it. Apart from Northern Ireland, UK Protestants and Catholics got over their mutual antagonism hundreds of years ago. And the Irish thing has always been more about territory and history than religion.

Well, not really. We have a long history of antipathy and distrust of the Pope, in particular, who has for centuries been painted as an interfering foreign ruler. Heck, some towns even burn an effigy of the Pope to this day on Bonfire Night, and there is a strong sectarian divide in Glasgow as well as Northern Ireland. So from an advertiser’s point of view, the Pope is a strange choice to promote a mass market product as:
(a) it will only appeal to a small proportion of the population, and
(b) it could be a turn off for a larger proportion of the population.

The majority tend not to have a problem with Catholics, but we do have a history of having a problem with popes which certainly wouldn’t have disappeared by the time of this ad…

Is there any evidence it’s a real ad from the early 1900’s? It just seems to have appeared on a bunch of blogs on the internet, it may well be a recent fake.

It crops up in a number of articles, including the Catholic Herald (british Catholic paper) and the Telegraph, so it would seem to be genuine.

Whatever about endorsing it, surely the slogan would have been offensive to Catholics and non-Catholics alike.

Well, I don’t know how I’d find it offensive. I just never particularly thought of the Pope endorsing liquor before. Amusing, maybe.

Bovril isn’t liquor; it’s a thick, salty meat extract, often mixed with milk and drunk warm, used as a flavoring in soups or stews, or spread on toast like Marmite.

According to Wikipedia, it was originally called “Johnston’s Fluid Beef”, evidencing a rather unique way with words on the part of the inventor.

Well if you’re Catholic it’s sorta taking the piss out Papal infallibilty.
If you’re a Non-Catholic Christian it’s suggesting the Pope might be infallible.