A ‘violent’ UK TV ad for Rockstar’s Bully: Scholarship Edition has escaped a ban, despite 31 complaints from offended viewers.
Complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority – which included grievances from those who had suffered from bullying – said the ad ‘glorified, trivialised and encouraged bullying and violence’.
According to Brand Republic, the ad shows protagonist Jimmy in the headmaster’s office being told he is: "the nastiest little boy I have ever encountered." He replies: "I’m just trying to fit in."
The complaints were not upheld by the Advertising Standards Authority.
Rockstar responded to the complaints by saying that the ad was no longer running and there are currently no plans to air it in the future.
It insisted that it was aware of the advertising codes and considered themselves to be responsible advertisers.
Responding to the viewers’ complaints about sending out the wrong message to youngsters, the company said that far from glorifying bullying, the aim of the game was to beat the bullies.
Among other reasons, the ASA decided not to uphold the complaints because they considered the ad to be "cartoon-like in nature" and "representative of the contents of the game rather than a realistic portrayal of intimidation or bullying".