ASA probes games firm’s ‘Osama’ ad

The Advertising Standards Authority is investigating complaints against a poster ad for Sony PlayStation 2 game America’s Most Wanted, featuring Osama Bin Laden.

The complainants claim that the campaign is offensive and insensitive in the climate of unease following September 11, 2001. There have also been complaints that it could incite racial violence against Muslims.

The ad, which uses the tagline “Go Get ‘Em”, has triggered eight complaints. Created by TBWA/London, it encourages players to capture fugitives such as Bin Laden.

The ASA has upheld a complaint against two poster campaigns for software company Midway Games. One ad shows a man covered in blood looking terrified and another features a prison cell window. Prisoners reach out, their arms covered in bloodstains. The ASA ruled that the campaign could upset children.

British Telecom has been censured after claiming in an ad that “over 750,000 people have signed back up to BT since last year’s Brit Awards. We think it is a record.” The ASA ruled that the ad is misleading, because the figure could not be substantiated.

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