An anti-bullying charity has slammed a violent viral ad for the Mortal Kombat brand for encouraging cyber bullying.
It is the second time video games publisher Midway Games has run into trouble with its advertising in the UK this year.
The viral directs users to a Mortal Kombat website called kreativekilling.co.uk, which promotes the new Mortal Kombat Armageddon game. Visitors are then guided to a section called Death Diss, which allows them to upload pictures of friends and superimpose them onto animated characters.
The characters can be dispatched in various violent ways and site users can then record their “diss” and send the results to people by e-mail.
Director Liz Carnell of the charity Bullying Online says: “Once bullies find out about this, I’m sure they will use it to get back at people.”
She adds: “We have already seen people uploading images of former friends along with abusive comments on social networking sites. This is just another step. This looks like a bullying tactic handed to bullies on a plate.”
Earlier this year, the Advertising Standards Authority upheld a complaint against Midway for a viral promoting Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks, which included a “live action” video showing a man tearing the heart out of a defeated opponent and eating it after a martial arts fight in an office meeting (MWJ anuary 1).
It is understood a complaint has been made to the
ASA over the latest viral, but it is not known whether the regulator will investigate or if the ASA has jurisdiction over the campaign.
The site was created for Midway by agency Greenroom Digital.
Midway European marketing director Al King says: “Midway is acutely aware of the legal responsibilities relating to mature-rated products…The content within the fan site is in keeping with the game and every aspect was subjected to intense legal and internal scrutiny.”