ASA rejects complaints over violent video game advert

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Timing of TV advert and murder of Gurmail Singh ‘unfortunate’, says watchdog

THE advertising watchdog has rejected complaints about a violent video game which was broadcast on television during the same time a Huddersfield shopkeeper was murdered.

The four television ads for the Sony Playstation Heavy Rain game showed a shopkeeper being threatened by an armed man, a customer being shot after wrestling the robber and the customer hitting the robber over the head with a glass bottle.

Three of the ads were restricted to screening after 7.30pm, with the version showing the bottle attack restricted until after 9pm.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) received 38 complaints about the campaign, including concerns that it was offensive, glamorised violence and was inappropriate for children.

Some complained that the campaign was offensive because it was broadcast at the time of the death of shopkeeper Gurmail Singh in an armed robbery.

Mr Singh, 63, died from head injuries after he was assaulted at the shop in Cowcliffe, Huddersfield on February 20.

Sony said the ads were based on the content and storyline of Heavy Rain and were not intended to glamorise violence.

The company said it was unfortunate that the ads appeared around the same time as Mr Singh’s death.

Rejecting the complaints, ASA said: “We understood the broadcast of the ads coincided with tragic events in Huddersfield, and we accepted that that may have been upsetting to those directly affected by the incident and similar events of robbery. “However, we considered that the ad was likely to be viewed by most people within its context of an ad for a videogame, rather than as a reference to or comment on a current news event, and would therefore expect to see footage that was representative of the games genre.”

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