ASA rules against Activision’s Modern Warfare 3 ad

The Advertising Standards Authority has upheld two complaints levelled against on of Activision’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 ads.

The ad showcased a number of the countries featured in the game and, in the words of the ASA, contained computer-generated scenes of New York under military assault, with buildings exploding and catching fire, soldiers loading guns and a submarine firing rockets”, armed men firing at a lorry” and further scenes of armed warfare and destruction, including soldiers firing weapons, military vehicles firing rockets at buildings and explosions”.

The complaints centred on the time of the broadcast, which took place at 2:30pm in the afternoon on Sunday November 6th during a Premier League football match on Sky Sports 1

The only restriction placed on the short at the time was that it should not be broadcast during or adjacent to programs designed or likely to appeal to those under 16.

In response, Activision rightfully highlighted that it abided by the rules that it had been given, and even produced a revised edit specifically for the time slot. Plus the ad had been given a PG rating by the BBFC.

Nonetheless, the ASA has now ruled against Activision, saying: We considered that the scenes of violence and destruction, together with the sound effects and music, could cause distress to some children who might see the ad.

Although we noted that the ad was only shown during the football, we concluded that it was inappropriate for broadcast during the day when young children might be watching and the ex-kids restriction was insufficient. We considered a post 7.30pm restriction would have been more appropriate.”

The only consequence is that Activision will not be allowed to broadcast the ad again any earlier than 7:30pm. Which presumably is of no consequence at all as Call of Duty advertising has already turned its attention to November’s Black Ops II.

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