An advertisement for Dead Island: Riptide featuring trapped lovers who go out with a bang is a little too much for Australian censors to abide.
You've probably seen the ad for Dead Island: Riptide in which a couple taking a romantic sailboat cruise suddenly finds themselves beached and surrounded by ravenous zombies. (And if you haven't, now's your big chance.) It's not nearly as tear-jerky as the famous CGI trailer that preceded the launch of the original Dead Island, but it's very much in the same vein: touching, tragic and, if you don't know what's coming, unexpected. It's also, in the eyes of the Australian Advertising Standards Bureau, completely inappropriate for television.
The Advertising Standards Bureau received complaints about the spot relating primarily to - spoiler alert, by the way - its depiction of suicide. The Australian publisher of the game, AIE, defended it as "intended to convey the desolate terror afflicting the game characters [and] contextually relevant to the product being advertised, as it conveys the hopelessness of the games' characters as they are faced with the overwhelming horror and violence of vast numbers of zombies hunting them," and also pointed out that there's no actual portrayal of zombie vs. human violence in the ad. But that didn't hold water with the ASB.
"The Board noted that the issue of suicide is a very significant community concern and considered that the use of images which are strongly suggestive of suicide is not appropriate in the context of a television advertisement for a computer game," the ASB wrote in its case report. "The Board considered that by presenting images which suggest suicide the advertisement does depict material which is contrary to Prevailing Community Standards on health and safety."
The ruling came in spite of the fact that the ASB also noted that the ad appeared during an airing of UFC Unleashed - that's real-life cage fighting, for those unfamiliar with the title - and "is not inappropriate for an audience of UFC Unleashed which would be unlikely to include young children."
AIE said in response to the ruling that it is "disappointed... that a depiction of suicide in an overtly fantastical setting is an unjustifiable depiction of violence," but has replaced the ad with something less offensive.