Easy on the violence, publishers warned

Publishers need to consider the ‘wider context’ of ads for violent games if they don’t want to see them banned from TV.

That’s according to the Advertising Standards Agency, which will next week release new guidance for games publishers and their ad agencies.

MCV understands that this will encourage publishers to think beyond just satisfying regulatory rules – and ask them to consider whether their creatives could still cause distress to viewers.

The new guidelines – which have been constructed with help from ELSPA – will be announced at an ASA event on September 15th, entitled ‘Advice – Video Games Advertising’.

The ASA this week told MCV that less than one per cent of games advertising had been upheld as inappropriate in the last 12 months – with just an Eidos ad for Kane and Lynch and a Sega vehicle for Condemned 2 both being pulled from screens.

Games has a high level of compliance to the rules – it’s certainly not an industry in crisis – but we felt we should qualify the existing guidance to help publishers avoid problems in the future,” ASA director of communications and marketing Esra Erkal-Paler told MCV.

Depictions of violence keep coming up [as the main issue with games]. When we look at some advertising content, it’s been likely to offend and cause distress – regardless of whether it’s pre or post-watershed.

Creators of this content need to take into account the wider context of the impact their ads have – rather than just of the bare minimum of the ASA requirements.”

The event will offer games marketers expert help to avoid attracting complaints to their ads. ELSPA director general Michael Rawlinson will give a keynote speech.
The ASA’s official regulations are currently being reviewed – with changes expected to be implemented across its critera in early 2010.

For more information about ‘Advice – Video Games Advertising’, email events@cap.org.uk

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