The controversy was sparked by a Wii commercial that showed people of various ages playing different computer games and performing actions such as boxing, bowling, playing golf, bursting balloons, fishing and shooting.
One scene involved a man playing a game using the hand controller as a gun and a sword. The text '16+' appeared on-screen and the ad cut between the player and the on-screen gaming action.
However, when the player waved the controller his on-screen character slashed his opponent several times. As he struck a final blow with the controller, the on-screen opponent fell to the floor clutching his head.
Seven complainants found the "depiction of violence in the ad offensive and disturbing". One viewer stated that it was reminiscent of recent videos released by hostage-takers in Iraq.
An additional four complainants believed that the ad glorified violence and the use of weapons, and could encourage children to emulate such actions.
Six complainants challenged the scheduling restrictions and said that the ad should not be shown when children were watching TV.
The ad was cleared by the Broadcast Advertising Clearance Centre with an 'ex-kids' restriction, which meant that it should not be shown in or around programmes made for, or specifically targeted at, children.
Advertising agency Leo Burnett responded on behalf of Nintendo explaining that one of the games featured in the ad, Legend of Zelda, was set in a fantasy world similar to that in the popular film Lord of the Rings.
Leo Burnett argued that the sword-fighting scenes were cartoon-like and did not feature any blood, injuries or realistic actions, and that the enemies were all fictional monsters.
The agency added that the gun-fire in the ad did not show any bullets hitting the target, but merely implied the action.
In throwing out the complaints, the ASA said that it believed viewers would recognise that the ad was showcasing the range of computer games available on the Wii and was intending to communicate that men, women, teenagers and children would all enjoy using the console.
"We noted that the ad featured scenes from many different games, several of which were family-oriented and involved, for example, playing golf, tennis and baseball, fishing and bursting balloons," the ASA stated in its ruling.
"We considered that the scenes from Red Steel did not feature explicit or graphic violence and were only one part of the ad, which primarily promoted a games console aimed at people of all ages and running games in a variety of genres.
"We also considered that viewers were unlikely to link the ad to recent events in Iraq. We concluded that the ad was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence."
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