It’s a norm that both the industry and many consumers have grown to accept over the years, but the controversy earlier this year that led to the pulling of Activision’s Call of Duty 2 ads from UK TV screens has revealed some ignorance within the ad authorities when it comes to games footage.
“If this has happened in the past, it’s happened without our knowledge,” admitted the BACC copy group manager Matthew Baily. “We ask all companies whether any imagery used is from the gameplay or is CGI footage from the game before we pass an ad for broadcast. The system is based on trust.
“If you’re saying that a large number of them use CGI footage generated just for the ad, that’s at odds with what advertisers are telling us.”
The issue only came to light when the Advertising Standards Authority received three complaints about the Call of Duty 2 ads from consumers who were surprised that the game’s visuals were not comparable to the visuals shown on the ad. Since then, many more commercials, such as Ubisoft’s Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter and Eidos’ Commandos Strike Force, have carried disclaimers stating that the images are ‘not in-game footage’.
“The Call of Duty 2 ad was pulled because it was found not to be representative of the home experience,” the ASA’s press officer Donna Mitchell told MCV.
But some of those working within the games advertising sector are surprised at the news. “People have always used CGI sequences to advertise games, and I’ve never seen it as a massive problem,” stated Uber Agency director Richard Benjamin.