SCi-owned Eidos has had its knuckles rapped by the ASA over its TV, poster, and magazine ads for Kane & Lynch: Dead Men, released in the UK on November 23.
A total of 26 complaints were registered with the advertising watchdog, with the majority of the objections being that the ads--particularly the poster--were offensive because they included "shocking images, which condoned violence, especially towards women."
The poster and one magazine ad show the game's two main characters, Kane and Lynch, standing in the background, one talking on a mobile phone and the other holding a rifle. In the foreground, Yoko, the daughter of a yakuza boss, is sitting down, a gag taped across her mouth and mascara-smudged tear stains on her face. Kane is wearing surgical gloves and is pulling the woman's hair.
The second ad was a close-up of the original, not showing the rifle and missing a quotation, and the televisual version showed the two characters in scenes including shooting into a group of hostages, and a man apparently having his throat cut.
Eidos defended its ad campaign by saying that the magazine ads were placed in magazines which were targeted at adults, and that the posters had been taken down and replaced with a different design after it became known that there had been complaints. It said that the TV ad had been shown after the 9 p.m. watershed, and was "cinematic."
The ASA ruled that the image shown in the poster was likely to be seen as condoning and glorifying real violence, and to cause "serious or widespread" offence. It also slammed the "I should regret it, all the pain I've caused" quote from the TV ad, stating that this could also be seen to condone real violence and cruelty.
As a result of the ASA's ruling, the Kane & Lynch TV ad and the image used in the poster and magazine spots have now been banned from being shown again in the UK.