Two TV ads for the video game Condemned 2 have been censured by the ASA
a. The first ad, which was cleared by Clearcast with a post-9 pm restriction, showed scenes of violence including a man punching another on the floor and blood splattering on the screen as a man was beaten with a club. The ad ended with a close-up of an
eye, surrounded by blood, looking through a spy hole. On-screen text stated: CONDEMNED 2 Out Now ...
b. The second ad, which was cleared by Clearcast with a post-11 pm restriction, was longer in duration. It included the same violent scenes and on-screen text but also included further scenes and a voice-over that stated Where is former agent Thomas?
He must be warned, he must know that it's not over. This time, as the characters fought, noises could be heard which seemed to express pain and the force of their exertions.
The ASA received nine complaints:
1. Most of the complainants thought ad (a) condoned violence and was offensive and distressing. One complainant said the ad was inappropriate for broadcast at any time.
2. Some of the complainants thought ad (b) condoned violence and was offensive and distressing. Two complainants said the ad was inappropriate for broadcast at any time.
ASA Assessment: 1. & 2. Upheld
We considered, however, that both the post-9 pm and post-11 pm versions showed the same violent images of blood, beating with clubs and punching and that, with the exception of duration, the differences between the two ads were not significant.
We noted the ads were intended to demonstrate the likely experience of a consumer playing the game. We considered, however, that the ads contained scenes of graphic and brutal violence which, although computer-generated, were realistic in appearance. We
noted in particular that both ads showed a man punching another on the floor and blood splattering on the screen as a man was beaten with a club and considered viewers were likely to find those scenes offensive and distressing and to see them as
condoning real violence and cruelty.
We considered that, with particular reference to the scenes described above, they were likely to offend or distress some viewers whatever time they were shown and both ads should be withdrawn from transmission completely.
The ads breached CAP (Broadcast) TV Advertising Standards Code rules 6.1 (Offence), 6.2 (Violence and cruelty) and 6.4 (Personal distress).