The UK Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) has upheld complaints concerning a television advertisement for the Xbox 360 in the UK, for “glamorising street racing”.
The Microsoft advert is not for any specific game, but instead features a street race between two cars in heavy traffic. At the end of the advert one car overturns and the driver emerges unscathed to be given a police badge by his pursuer, as they switch roles.
Advertising agency McCann Erickson argued that it had been careful to ensure that the advert was not construed as encouraging dangerous driving, with the use of onscreen text which reads, “Dramatisation. Professional stunt. Do not attempt”.
The agency also ensured, in co-operation with the Broadcast Advertising Clearance Centre, that the advert was not shown before the so-called 9pm watershed. Further, the company also pointed out that at no time did either of the cars exceed the speed limit.
However, the ASA took the opinion that the onscreen text only “reinforced the sense that the events were real, rather than fantasy, and were therefore capable of being copied”, according to a Reuters report
The ASA added that, “We were concerned that the ad gave the impression that reckless street car racing was exciting and fun”. The watchdog group also criticised the fact that the driver who crashed was congratulated at the end of the race.
As a result the ASA has ruled that the advert breached health and safety and driving standards rules, and should not be broadcast again.