A recent Sony ad campaign for its PlayStation 3 console was slammed by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) as it could be seen "to condone or glamorise violence or anti-social behaviour, especially among young people".
The campaign, designed by ad agency TBWA, was made of up a series of internet, TV and print adverts that received 23 complaints around four separate concerns of nudity, strong language and the glamorisation of violence, however only the last complaint was upheld by the ASA.
The adverts feature a variety of characters including Lt Kovac, a fictional ex-soldier from the Croatian army turned freedom fighter.
In one internet ad, seen on Yahoo and BT sites, Kovac is seen holding a knife and then a gun with on-screen text reading "You on my side? Listen up, I've killed for less…", the text continues "Kovac, Mercenary or Misunderstood?" and concludes with the PlayStation slogan "This is living".
There were several complaints made to the ASA about the use of a gun and knife in the ad in combination with the inclusive text, and although the ASA noted Yahoo had shown the ad on sites targeting those over 18 years of age, they considered that there was an underlying tone of violence in the ad and upheld the complaints under CAP Code clauses 2.2 for responsibility and 11.1 for violence.
The ASA has instructed Sony to amend future internet ads where the content could be seen to condone or glamorise violence or anti-social behaviour.
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