Call of Duty advert banned months after it stopped being broadcast. Complete waste of time? Not really says ASA

The Advertising Standards Agency has banned an advert for Activision's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 from being broadcast in the UK before 7.30pm. In its assessment, ASA concluded 'the scenes of violence and destruction, together with the sound effects and music, could cause distress to some children'. And the last thing anyone wants is to cause distress to children. So it's hard to argue against the ruling. But I can't help noticing how the whole thing seems like a complete waste of time.

Above: Explosions like this can be distressing to children

The offending advert aired in the UK on Sky Sports 1 at 2.30pm on Sunday 6 November 2011 during a Premier League football match. It was advertising Modern Warfare 3's release date and encouraged consumers to pre-order the game. When Modern Warfare 3 was released two days later the advert effectively became redundant. So why has the ASA bothered going through a lengthy process just to impose restrictions on an advert that - 8 months later - is no longer being broadcast? What exactly has been achieved here besides a waste of time?

To find out, I contacted ASA and received the following response:

"While we would prefer for our investigation involving Activision Publishing to have concluded more speedily, and ordinarily these types of cases are resolved promptly, unfortunately a backlog of cases was created towards the end of last year following the extension of our online remit. This has meant some cases have taken longer to conclude than is ideal. That said, it is still important that our adjudication is published on the public record.

"Our approach to advertising regulation is that prevention is better than cure. The ruling not only serves to highlight where the advertiser went wrong, it reminds all advertisers in that sector where the line is drawn. It should be taken into account when planning future campaigns."

So while banning a dead commercial achieves nothing, the process itself isn't completely pointless. Although I find it amazing the entire song-and-dance of adjudication in this particular instance was prompted by the advert receiving just two complaints. 

You can find full details of the ASA adjudication here.


  • Untarr - July 25, 2012 7:59 a.m.

    Whatever lets them fall asleep at night... What's really awesome is that tax dollars were spent in order to do this. You would think they would have something more important to spend money on than this.
  • Kermit1970 - July 25, 2012 8:57 a.m.

    Tax POUNDS actually.
  • comaqi - July 25, 2012 8:28 a.m.

    God forbid we distress the children. Aren't most CoD players children anyways?
  • TheHowetzer - July 25, 2012 8:58 a.m.

    LOL, ok a couple of things just have to get covered here. First what's up with the freakin apostrophie man? In its assessment, ASA concluded 'the scenes of violence and destruction, together with the sound effects and music, could cause distress to some children'. Is there some weird british rule about using an apostrophie here? Just threw me for a loop is all =) More importantly, I really am incredulous that you are surprized that the government basically told you "Sorry we took longer than it even mattered, but we still gotta do it, know...its like better for you and stuff dont you know!? Cause WE know whats best for you people, and its like...SOOOoo important. Dont forget, we're sorry, but you NEED us for this stuff!"
  • TheHowetzer - July 25, 2012 9:01 a.m.

    OMG ok I just saw whats up with the freakin apostrophie...its a quote from the all powerful and all knowing government agency...right my bad on that one haha. I totally missed the first apostrophie at the begining of the quote. Sorry for double post. Had to.
  • scaler2000 - July 25, 2012 9:48 a.m.

    lasting as long as possible on contra (any one of them)
  • scaler2000 - July 25, 2012 9:49 a.m.

    wrong feature. can you del comments?
  • ThatGamerDude - July 25, 2012 10 a.m.

    Wow, what a waste of tax money just to ban advertisement before 7:30 because of children when said children are the ones that make up over half the people who play Modern Warfare 3 in the first place.
  • Sjoeki - July 25, 2012 11:03 a.m.

    I can understand that if you're trying to make a point that you have to stick to it, otherwise everybody is going to b*tch about the fact that you let that one slip.
  • IceBlueKirby - July 25, 2012 12:51 p.m.

    Clearly they have their children's best interests in mind. Just, you know, in the back of their mind.
  • ParagonT - July 26, 2012 8:17 a.m.

    Well, just because some children play CoD does not mean that it's less important to keep advertisers in check.
  • kkinight - July 26, 2012 11:40 p.m.

    Hey, I've just received a free Minecraft Giftcode! You can get one too! >> <<

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