Diabetes UK – one of the parties behind the new Change4Life print ad – has told MCV that it has been left ‘surprised' by the video games industry's reaction to the promotion.
Since MCV announced that it had filed an official complaint with the ASA regarding the Government's Change4Life campaign, a host of other companies have spoken out against the initiative – including Codemasters, Konami, Future, Tiga, Atari and Sega.
Andy James, Director of Relationships and Marketing at Diabetes UK and spokesperson on behalf of the British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK and Diabetes UK Change4Life partnership told MCV:
We're surprised at this reaction to our campaign to tackle childhood obesity.
Obesity is a massive risk to our nation's health, and a growing problem for children in the UK. If current trends continue, a staggering nine out of ten of today's children will be overweight in 2050 – leading to an increased risk of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and certain cancers in later life.
Of course we are not saying that children should not play computer games - but we are saying that children need a balanced and active lifestyle.
Our campaign aims to increase awareness of the consequences of an unhealthy lifestyle and give parents the information they need to make informed choices. Designed with input from parents, our adverts examining diet and exercise inform parents that children need an hour of physical activity every day to reduce their risk of becoming overweight or obese as an adult.”
Sony has also added that it is considering legal action over the ad. ELSPA has demanded an urgent meeting with the Government to discuss it. The Government, however, told MCV that it stood by the advertisment.