'Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3' Ad Banned From British TV
LONDON – Advertisements for computer game phenomenon Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 have been banned from British television for being too violent for children to view.
The British advertising watchdog the Advertising Standards Authority, deemed the scenes of New York and London under military attack as being too graphic for kids.
Call of Duty producer Activision's TV campaign promoting the game, which carries an 18 certificate from the British Board of Film Classification's gaming unit, was aired during a Premier League soccer match in the mid-afternoon on Sky Sports 1.
A brace of viewers complained to the watchdog that the TV campaign should not be aired at all during the day when children might see it.
One of the complainants told the ASA that their children, aged between two and four, had been frightened by the ad.
Activision said that the TV ad had originally been cleared for broadcast with an "ex-kids" restriction. This meant it should not be broadcast in or around programs that were likely to appeal to under-16s.
The company said that it aired a revised edit of the TV ad, with all violent and threatening content removed, to allow the spot to run during the football.
According to the ASA website the British Board of Film Classification had given the ad a PG certificate, meaning it could be used on screens in stores and was rated for general viewing, although some scenes still may not be suitable for young children.
However, the ASA said that the campaign contained scenes of extensive gunfire, explosions and destruction that were accompanied by a dramatic soundtrack.
"We considered that the scenes of violence and destruction, together with the sound effects and music, could cause distress to some children who might see the ad," the ASA assessment statement said.
"Although we noted that the ad was only shown during the football, we concluded that it was inappropriate for broadcast during the day when young children might be watching and the ex-kids restriction was insufficient."
The ASA reacted by upping the broadcast restriction applying to the TV ad, banning it from being shown at all during the day. The ASA said that the TV campaign cannot be shown before 7:30 p.m.