A recent TV ad for Take Two's Bully: Scholarship Edition has escaped admonition from the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) following several complaints.
The game's main character is seen in the ad destroying property, firing a catapult and shielding himself from a burning substance in a science classroom. Two other characters are shown lifting another student by his underpants.
The ASA received 31 complaints about the ad. Several viewers, some of whom had experienced bullying, described it as 'offensive and distasteful'.
Others said that it 'glorified, trivialised and encouraged bullying and violence', and that it was scheduled inappropriately because it could be seen by children.
Take Two acknowledged that the ad showed one brief glimpse of two characters lifting another character by his underpants.
But the firm insisted that the scene was obviously comic in nature and was no worse than might be shown in a children's cartoon.
Take Two believes that the game's title was probably more likely to have been the source of most people's complaints, and that sensationalist coverage of the game had coloured perceptions of the ad.
Defending its choice of scheduling times, Take Two said that both it and its buying agency had carefully reviewed each individual spot on the TV schedule.
The ASA reviewed all of the complaints but did not find the ad in breach of any of its rules.
Take Two stressed that the ad is no longer running and that the firm has no plans to air it in future.
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