The ad, created by the Department of Health in association with Cancer Research, Diabetes UK and The British Heart Foundation – via ad agency The Gate – has caused widespread anger amongst the trade.
It shows a young boy holding a PlayStation-like pad under the words: ‘Risk an early death. Just do nothing.’ MCV has submitted an official complaint over the ad to the Advertising Standards Authority.
Publishing director of Future’s games portfolio James Binns told MCV today:
“Using a child with a joypad to illustrate Change4Life is crass and misleading. The negative associations with gaming could be long lasting.
“There is no arguing that the campaign’s underlying message about premature death is incredibly important – but the government would never risk the wrath of showing a child sitting still reading a book to illustrate their point.
“Games and gamers are a soft target. No-one has ever got fit by standing on a book, whilst games like WiiFit can kickstart an exercise regime.”