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COD: MW3 ad banned before 7:30pm

Call of Duty courts controversy once again with restrictions to advert from the ASA.

The Call of Duty franchise has never been shy of controversy. Most gamers will remember the outrage surrounding the so-called terrorist mission in COD: Modern Warfare 2, where players are required to gun down innocent civilians at an airport.

Yet the series publisher Activision remains undeterred, and has landed itself in hot water once again with an advert for the latest title in the popular global franchise, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.

An advert for the game has been deemed unsuitable for airing before the 19:30 BST watershed in the UK. In its ruling, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) points to "frightening" content which includes warfare in key European cities such as Paris and London.

There were two complaints about the broadcast advert, both of which questioned the appropriateness of the advert being aired during the day when children were watching.

Although the ad had previously been judged as unsuitable for broadcast alongside programmes directed at children below the age of 16, the ASA noted it appeared during a 14:30 BST Premier League football match that children may have been watching.

In its response, Activision pointed out that the ad had been "specially revised" for its Sky Sports time slot, with all threatening and violent content removed.

The ASA upheld the complaint against Activision, noting: "The ad contained scenes of extensive gunfire, explosions and destruction, and these scenes were accompanied by sound effects of weapons being fired, explosions and soldiers shouting.

"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."

Commenting on the ruling, advertising lawyer at Browne Jacobson, Nina Best, suggested it was difficult to see how the watchdog could have reached any other ruling than to ban broadcast before 19:30.ADNFCR-1220-ID-801416483-ADNFCR