Sony game ad cleared despite 38 complaints

LONDON - A Sony Computer Entertainment TV ad, which attracted 38 complaints about violence, has escaped without action from the advertising watchdog.

The ad was created by TBWA and promoted the 'Heavy Rain' game on the Sony PlayStation3.

It played out in four parts, with the first part laying out the scenario of a shopkeeper being threatened by an armed man.

The other three parts presented alternative storylines depending on the action taken by a customer– to intervene, to attack the armed robber, or to negotiate with him.

The 'attack' ad was given a post-9pm restriction by Clearcast, and the others, a post-7.30pm restriction.

Several viewers complained that all four ads were inappropriate for scheduling at times when they could be seen by children. Others complained about the violence, while some complained they were offended because they were broadcast at the time of the death of a shopkeeper in Huddersfield in an armed robbery.

The Advertising Standards Authority rejected all the complaints, saying the scheduling restrictions were sufficient, the timing of the broadcast was unfortunate but unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence, and the characters and scenarios were clearly fictional.