Burnout ads hit with UK ban

The UK advertising watchdog upholds complaints about Tube posters "likely to cause serious or widespread offence."

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Following on from the furore surrounding the banning of Manhunt 2 and the previous outlawing of some Xbox 360 ads in April, the UK's Advertising Standards Agency has now ruled that posters promoting EA's Burnout Dominator pushed the boundaries of taste a little too far.

The industry standards body received complaints, which centered on two points. Firstly that the "reference to and the depiction of violence in the poster was offensive," and secondly that it was "likely to encourage violence, dangerous driving, and antisocial behaviour."

The poster itself, seen on London's subway system, showed a smashed-up car with the slogan "inner peace through outer violence." In response to the complaints, EA explained that the text and images were designed to portray the "consumer experience within the game environment" and that playing the game might help to relieve stress.

There had been some reservations expressed by the Committee of Advertising Practice (a body administered by the ASA to establish codes of conduct in the area), but EA had maintained that it thought people seeing the advertisement would be aware that it represented a game and wouldn't be taken seriously.

But following 37 complaints, the ASA decided that the text was too strong after all, and it has now stated that the "irresponsible" ad, which is no longer being displayed on the Tube, "must not reappear in its present form." EA has agreed to comply with the decision and has stated its intention to seek further advice from the CAP before any future advertising of the product.

There was no additional comment from EA on the matter as of press time.

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