The British Advertising Standards Authority, which is an independent body set up by the advertising industry to police the rules laid down in the advertising codes, has upheld consumer complaints regarding a UK television advert for Activision game Call Of Duty 2 that featured CG sequences, as opposed to in-game footage.
The ads were for Call of Duty 2: Big Red One, which is available for Playstation 2, XBox and Nintendo Gamecube and Call of Duty 2, which is available for the Xbox 360. Both ads featured computer-generated scenes of soldiers in combat and packaging shots of the games.
According to the ASA: "Three viewers felt that the ad Call of Duty 2 was misleading because the quality of the graphics in the ad were superior to that of the game itself. They felt that viewers could have assumed that the scenes shown were taken from the game and may have bought them on the strength of the quality of the scenes. One of these complainants also felt that the ad for Call of Duty 2: Big Red One was misleading for the same reason."
The complaint was upheld, and the UK's Broadcast Advertising Clearance Centre (BACC) said that it was their understanding when clearing the ads that the scenes shown were taken from the games themselves. They said that, upon receiving the complaints, they were informed by Activision that the computer-generated scenes had in fact been produced solely for the ads. They said they therefore immediately made the ads unacceptable for broadcast, as they did not consider that this was common practice in such ads.
Activision said they felt this was common practice and they had not been told that it was not acceptable to use material created specially for an ad in this way. They said that they had acted in good faith. The ASA noted that the ads did not include any indication that the images shown did not reflect the quality of graphics of the games. While the scenes used communicated the themes of the game, they were not accurate representations of the graphics in the games themselves.
Therefore the ASA rules that the ads breached TV Advertising Standards Code rules 5.1 (Misleading advertising) and 5.2.2 (Implications), and they must not be shown again in the UK in their present forms, presenting an interesting precedent for those many companies that show CG sequences in television advertisements for video games.