ASA Adjudication on Electronic Arts Ltd
Electronic Arts Ltd t/a
17 December 2008
Number of complaints:
A TV ad, for the computer game Tiger Woods PGA Tour 09, showed Tiger Woods swinging a Wii handset. The background showed scenes of a golf course from the game. Text at the end of the ad stated “OUT 29th AUGUST… AVAILABLE ON ALL FORMATS” with the Wii logo displayed beneath.
A viewer complained that the background footage, which he believed was taken from the Xbox 360 version of the game, gave a misleading impression of the quality of graphics achievable from the Wii version.
BCAP TV Code
Electronic Arts confirmed that the footage in the ad was taken from the Xbox 360 version of the game. They pointed out that Tiger Woods was seen using a Wiimote throughout the ad and the only branding at the end of the ad was that of Nintendo Wii. They said, to avoid any confusion, they added text to inform viewers that the game was available on all formats. Electronic Arts maintained that they were demonstrating game action that was possible on all formats and did not show any gameplay that was impossible on a Wii. They explained that Wii footage would not be of broadcast quality, and the originating agency had thought it preferable to use the Xbox footage, which was closer to broadcast definition, than to "up the resolution" of Wii footage to broadcast quality.
They believed the use of the Wiimote throughout, the subsequent Nintendo branding and the format advice at the end of the ad was sufficient to allow viewers to ascertain that the gameplay was representative of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 09 and not specific to any gaming platform. They added that they had never intended to imply that the graphics used were taken from the Wii version.
Clearcast said they had received an assurance from the agency that the footage had been taken directly from actual gameplay. They also said they had understood that the footage was Wii footage but had not obtained a written assurance on that point. They said in future they would ensure that the assurance confirmed, not only that the footage was game footage, but also that it was from the format being promoted.
The ASA noted the ad showed Tiger Woods in the foreground using a handset from the Nintendo Wii console and that each time he played a shot, a character in the game footage behind him mirrored his actions. We also noted the only console-specific branding displayed at the end of the ad was the Wii logo. Although we acknowledged that the message "AVAILABLE ON ALL FORMATS" appeared in the final scene, we considered that viewers would infer from the ad that Tiger Woods was playing the game on a Wii console and the graphics shown behind him were representative of the actual game he was playing. We also considered that the Wii logo at the end of the ad reinforced that impression. Because viewers would not be able to achieve the graphical quality shown in the ad on a Wii console, we concluded that the ad was misleading.
The ad breached CAP (Broadcast) TV Advertising Standards Code Rules 5.1 (Misleading advertising) and 5.2.2 (Implications).
The ad must not be broadcast again in its current form.
Adjudication of the ASA Council (Broadcast)