Konami ad compaign seen as racial stereotype and violence

After seeing Microsoft’s ads for the Xbox360, we figured everything was fair game. Now, the Advertising Standards Authority, has upheld the complaint against an advertisement for Konami’s Crime Life: Gang Wars, a multi-platform game, which claimed “it exploited racial stereotypes and glorified violence.”

In the advertisement, placed in the London edition of Metro, pictured five black men standing alongside each other in a street scene. Two of them were holding guns, while one carried a baseball bat and another held a hammer. The image was accompanied by the tagline: “Rule the streets or fall by the wayside.”

After the publication of this advertisement the ASA received a complaint which set the investigation into motion. In their defence, Konami stated “the men featured in the advert were members of hip hop band D12, who also appear as the main characters in Crime Life: Gang Wars – a game about black, urban American gangs. D12 had approved the image for use, and that the tagline was a reference to the main objective for players of the game. The publisher admitted that the advert could be seen to suggest violence, but noted that it did not portray any specific violent act.”

Metro defended the decision to print the advert by referring to a recent survey conducted by the newspaper which found that a large proportion of its readers play games. Metro also stated that they “believed people could distinguish between real life and games.” Konami added that the majority of Metro’s target audience is young, affluent commuters, so the ad was not considered to have the risk of serious or widespread offense. Konami added that there were no plans to run the ad again in future.
After seeing Microsoft’s ads for the Xbox360, we figured everything was fair game. Now, the Advertising Standards Authority, has upheld the complaint against an advertisement for Konami’s Crime Life: Gang Wars, a multi-platform game, which claimed “it exploited racial stereotypes and glorified violence.”

In the advertisement, placed in the London edition of Metro, pictured five black men standing alongside each other in a street scene. Two of them were holding guns, while one carried a baseball bat and another held a hammer. The image was accompanied by the tagline: “Rule the streets or fall by the wayside.”

After the publication of this advertisement the ASA received a complaint which set the investigation into motion. In their defence, Konami stated “the men featured in the advert were members of hip hop band D12, who also appear as the main characters in Crime Life: Gang Wars – a game about black, urban American gangs. D12 had approved the image for use, and that the tagline was a reference to the main objective for players of the game. The publisher admitted that the advert could be seen to suggest violence, but noted that it did not portray any specific violent act.”

Metro defended the decision to print the advert by referring to a recent survey conducted by the newspaper which found that a large proportion of its readers play games. Metro also stated that they “believed people could distinguish between real life and games.” Konami added that the majority of Metro’s target audience is young, affluent commuters, so the ad was not considered to have the risk of serious or widespread offense. Konami added that there were no plans to run the ad again in future.

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