ASA Rejects “Early Death” Ad Complaints


The U.K. Advertising Standards Authority has rejected complaints from the videogame industry about an ad that implied that videogaming could lead to premature death.

The ad appeared as part of the U.K. government’s Change4Life campaign, which seeks to promote a healthier lifestyle among the country’s children and youth. But the image of a bored-looking child with a PlayStation controller in his hands, under the blaring headline “Risk an early death, just do nothing,” inspired outrage across much of the U.K. gaming industry including Atari, Codemasters, Konami, Future and trade group ELSPA, as well as formal ASA complaints from MCV UK and Tiga which called the ad “unfair and inaccurate.” Sony is apparently contemplating legal action against Change4Life over its unauthorized used of a PlayStation controller in the ad.

But MCV now says the ASA has rejected the complaints because there are “not sufficient grounds for us to intervene on this occasion” and force the ad to be pulled. “Whilst the ASA Council understood the concerns of Tiga and those complainants who worked in the video games industry, it noted that the ad did not claim that playing computer or console games alone would lead to illness or premature death,” it added.

“We completely accept the ASA’s decision on the complaints made about these ads,” said MCV Associate Editor Tim Ingham. “Our point was never against the point these ads were making, but rather the larger issue surrounding the misrepresentation of video games in the media.”

The ASA’s full statement in response to the complaints can be read here.

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