Video game ad banned for 'realistic' violence
Stranglehold promo strangled
An advert for a computer game has been banned from television. The advert for Stranglehold had realistic violence, constant gunfire and condoned violence, according to ad watchdog the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).
The ASA responded to two complaints about the promotional clip for the game, which is endorsed by martial arts director John Woo. One person complained that the advert glorified gun violence and could affect susceptible people. Another said their three-year-old son had seen the ad when it was shown before the 9pm television watershed.
The advertising agency behind the ad, Picture Production Company, said it believed it was clear the footage was animation and not realistic, and that nobody was seen to be shot because bullets were fired into the air in the clip.
The ASA did not accept its arguments. "The ASA noted that the shooting was almost continuous throughout the ad and considered that the violence depicted, although computer-generated, was realistic in appearance," said its ruling.
"We considered the voice-over, which stated 'Honour is his code. Vengeance is his mission. Violence is his only option,' suggested that it was honourable to seek revenge and that violence was an acceptable solution to a situation."
Picture Production Company said it had submitted the advert to Clearcast and had received approval to show it. Clearcast is a company owned by the major broadcasters which carries out pre-broadcast clearing of adverts using the ASA's rules as guidance.
It said it thought the violence unrealistic and stylised, and that the ad could be shown because there was no interpersonal or gory violence. It said it had recommended showing the advert only after 7.30pm.
The ASA also rejected Clearcast's assessment. "We considered the ad was likely to be seen as encouraging and condoning violence. Because the issues raised by the ad could not be addressed with a timing restriction, we considered the only solution was to withdraw the ad from transmission completely," said the ruling.
The ASA ordered Stranglehold publisher Midway Games not to re-broadcast the advert because it broke the Advertising Code's rules on violence and cruelty and its rules on health and safety.
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Missing the point?
I think that many of you are missing the point, TV and radio advertising has to be censored to a much higher degree than other media because you can be unwillingly exposed to it. Think about it, you don't choose what adverts you want to watch, someone else does that for you, and because of that if an advert is likely to cause offense, or glorify a concept that we don't want happening in the real world, the censors have to err on the side of caution.
With other forms of media, even TV programs, you have scheduling information and warnings to make an active choice to turn the TV off if you think someone is coming on soon that you don't want to expose your kids to. Same with the computer games themselves, you have a choice whether or not you purchase a copy of the game.
In short, the ASA was doing it's job sensibly, and doesn't deserve the comments some of you are making,
violence is never an acceptable solution to a situation?
Better teach that to the police, the politicians who control the military, etc. I imagine Britain would be an entirely different place today if the ASA had their way about this back on September 4, 1939 when the RAF bombed the German Navy in response to Germany invading Poland.
Oh that's right, they DID have their way sort of, when Chamberlain appeased Hitler almost a year before.
OMG - I just read all of this pre 9pm, I'm gonna go check see if Pa's left the cabinet unlocked...
Vengeance is his mission!
Polite conversation in which a compromise everybody that can agree upon is his only option!
I can see it now!
Banned because violence was too realistic?
Seems to me that if you are going to show violence then you should be damn certain that you show the consequences of violence -- blood, gore, people dying.
Surely it's UNrealistic violence we should be worried about.