Change4Life in shock U-turn on games

UPDATE: The following story has already drawn national attention in The Guardian and other media.

The Government’s Change4Life campaign will today begin explicitly promoting the benefits of video games – after becoming the pariah of the industry last month.

MCV can reveal that new Change4Life TV ads which air tonight will urge families to make sure their kids have 60 ‘active’ minutes each day. The Department of Health told MCV that they will focus on ‘playing video games in which kids need to move about’.

The news will be seen as a victory for the video games industry, after Change4Life drew mass criticism from the trade for its previous print ad last month.

The commercial depicted a boy playing a console under the tagline: ‘Risk an Early Death. Just Do Nothing.’

Sega, Codemasters, Atari and EA all denounced the ad, while MCV submitted an official complaint to the ASA requesting the ad be pulled. Sony even considered legal action over the use of a PlayStation-like pad in the commercial.

Dawn Primarolo, Minister for Public Health said:

Active video games, where kids need to jump up and down or dance about as part of the game, are a great way to get kids moving more.

Little bits of activity like this, throughout the day can easily add up to the 60 active minutes kids need. But our survey shows that at the moment our kids just aren’t getting up and about enough.”

The new TV ad was created by Aardman Animations, creators of Wallace And Gromit.

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