Konami, the publisher of Crime Life Gang Wars, a game about black, urban American gangs, has been ordered by the Advertising Standards Authority (the 'ASA"?) not to repeat an ad which appeared in the London edition of the Metro. The ad in question depicted five black men standing in the street, with two holding guns, one carrying a baseball bat and another brandishing a hammer. The ad's tagline 'Rule the streets or fall by the wayside."?
The ASA, an independent body set up by the advertising industry to police the rules laid down in UK advertising codes, launched an investigation following a complaint about the ad and, in the result, found the ad to be 'offensive and irresponsible"?.
Though Konami argued that the men in the ad were members of hip hop band D12, and that they had approved the image, the ASA reasoned that 'some readers may not understand that the men in the ad represented the band members and could take the image to be a negative portrayal of black men and be offended by it on those grounds."? The ASA also concluded that the tagline 'could be seen to condone violence and present that choice of lifestyle as aspirational in a way that was irresponsible."?