Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Advertising Standards Authority Bans Ad Campaign For XBox, Judging It "Shocking" and "Graphic"

The Advertising Standards Authority has banned an ad campaign for the XBox which it deems to be "graphic and too shocking to be seen in an untargeted medium." Said the ASA,

We noted the TV ad demonstrated the action of the game using animated graphic sequences taken from it. We considered, however, that there were some scenes; including that in which a 'crunch' sound was heard as the butt of a rifle was brought down on what was suggested to be a victim's head and another in which a man with a bloodied face appeared to have his throat cut; which we considered were likely to cause offense and distress to viewers despite the animated treatment.

In addition, we considered that the voice-over, which included the statement from one of the characters "I should regret it all, all the pain I've caused", in conjunction with acts of violence and intimidation, which were prevalent throughout the ad, were likely to be seen by viewers as condoning real violence and cruelty.

We acknowledged that efforts had been made by Clearcast and the broadcasters in scheduling the ad to reduce the likelihood of offence being caused, but considered that, with particular reference to the scenes outlined above, it was likely to offend or distress some viewers whatever time it was shown. 
We concluded that the complaints could not be resolved with a timing restriction and that the ad should be withdrawn from transmission completely.

On this point, the TV ad breached CAP (Broadcast) TV Advertising Standards Code rules 6.1 (Harm and offence), 6.2 (Harm and offence - Violence and cruelty) and 6.4 (Harm and offence - Personal distress).

Read the ruling in its entirety here. Read more about the background of the ad campaign and the complaints lodged in an article from the Guardian here.

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