A paid-for Twitter ad for the mobile app game Gold and Goblins, seen on 3 November 2021. The ad included a video which showed a cartoon goblin driving a vehicle to harvest resources, and then selling the resources to upgrade the vehicle. On-screen text stated “MAKE GOLD” and “PLAY NOW”. A caption at the top of the ad stated “Let’s see how deep you can get”.
IssueOne complainant, who believed the ad’s content was not representative of the actual gameplay of the Gold and Goblins game, challenged whether the ad was misleading.
AppQuantum said that Gold and Goblins was a game which allowed players to extract minerals from mines and then upgrade the characters and resources. They provided a video of actual gameplay footage.
AppQuantum said that the game allowed players to mine and then merge resources to achieve upgrades, and that the video in the ad did not intend to show actual gameplay, but rather a cinematic representation of the gameplay.
They also said that cinematic ads for games often portrayed imagery or action which was not representative of actual gameplay, but instead a cinematic representation of the themes of a game.
The video in the ad showed footage of a goblin character driving a mining vehicle around a free-roam area containing what appeared to be representations of various different minerals, in order to harvest resources, before selling them and instantly upgrading the vehicle to increase its speed and harvesting abilities. That process led to the appearance of the vehicle changing, as its mining tool increased in size. The ASA considered consumers would understand from the ad that the content featured was representative of the Gold and Goblins game overall.
The actual gameplay footage showed goblin characters mining rocks to unlock gold coins. That process took place in a static, set “mine” location, and did not involve the gameplay mechanics depicted in the ad. The mining process involved the goblin characters gradually “mining” rocks with pickaxes to release the gold, allowing players to upgrade the goblins mining ability, and the mine itself.
At no point in the gameplay footage were players able to drive a harvesting vehicle, or retrieve mineral-like resources from a free-roam area, as depicted in the ad. We therefore considered that there was a significant discrepancy between the ad and the gameplay which featured in the game itself.
Overall, we considered that the gameplay in Gold and Goblins was significantly different from the gameplay depicted in the ad, and we therefore concluded that it was misleading.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 3.1 3.1 Marketing communications must not materially mislead or be likely to do so. (Misleading advertising).
The ads must not appear again in the form complained of. We told AppQuantum Publishing Ltd to ensure that their future advertising presented gameplay which was representative of the games they advertised.