Activision Video Game Ads Found To Be Misleading

Video Game Law Blog

February 22, 2006

For anyone who's ever stared in awe at a TV commercial for the latest video game and thought 'I can't believe it looks that good!"?, well, you may have been right after all.

In a pivotal decision, the UK Advertising Standards Authority (the 'ASA"?) has declared that commercials for two Activision games – Call of Duty 2 and CoD2, the Big Red One – are misleading and must not be shown again. The decision comes in response to complaints from three television viewers who claimed that the graphics shown in the TV ads were superior to the graphics in the game itself. The ASA agreed, noting that the ads did not include any indication that the images shown did not reflect the quality of graphics of the games.

Of note, Activision did not deny that the TV ads featured scenes produced solely for the ads instead of scenes taken from the game itself. Rather, its unsuccessful defence was that using such pre-rendered footage was 'common practice"?, that it 'had not been told that it was not acceptable to use material created specially for an ad in this way"? and that it had 'acted in good faith."?

The decision is sure to be alarming for any video game publisher using rendered footage, whether in its TV or print ads.

Coverage at