Ad description

A paid-for Facebook ad for Golf Clash, a mobile app game, seen on 20 March 2024, showed footage of the game being played. Text at the bottom of the screen appeared that stated, “Includes optional in-game purchases (includes random items)” before quickly disappearing.


The complainant, an academic researcher in game regulation, challenged whether the ad was misleading because it did not make it sufficiently clear the game contained random-item purchasing (loot boxes).


Electronic Arts Ltd t/a EA said the ad disclosed that the Golf Clash game contained random-item purchasing (loot boxes). EA highlighted that the “Advertising guidance on advertising in-game purchases” did not provide specific requirements when disclosing such information and that the prominence of the messaging would depend on a number of factors. They also highlighted that the guidance stated, whilst the disclosure did not need to be especially prominent, it should be easily accessible to consumers and straightforward to find.EA explained that the disclosure was clearly visible for two seconds at the start of the ad, and because of that, believed it was easily accessible and straightforward for consumers to find that disclosure. They also said the font, spacing, colour, capitalisation and layout of the text of this disclosure had been chosen to ensure its prominence in the ad.

This was consistent with EA’s best practice guidance on disclosure and use of disclaimers in 2022, when the ad had been created, and which had been updated. They therefore believed that the ad made clear the game contained random item purchases.

EA also said the product description for Golf Clash, linked to by the ad, also made clear that the ad contained random item purchases, and that consumers would therefore be aware of their existence in the game before they made a decision to download.In response to the complaint, EA confirmed that they were conducting a review of all their marketing materials to ensure they were consistent with the requirements of the CAP Code and to ensure that the relevant disclosures were even more prominent and readable.



CAP Guidance stated that the presence of in-game purchasing, and particularly random-item purchasing (loot boxes), was material to a consumer’s decision to purchase or download a game, especially for those with specific vulnerabilities. As such, marketers were required to ensure that advertising for the game made clear that it contained in-game purchasing, and, if relevant, that it included loot boxes and that information needed to be easily accessible to consumers and straightforward to find.

The ad contained text at the bottom of the video which stated, “Includes optional in-game purchases (includes random items)”. The text was presented in a light grey font and appeared against a moving background of various clips of gameplay footage, including a golden statue, a lake and a golf course. We noted that the gameplay clips were brightly coloured and appeared in rapid succession, and because of that, there was often more than one colour contrast between the text and the background. We therefore found the background creative distorted the appearance of the text and, in combination with the quick-moving nature of the video clips, made it difficult to read the text, which we considered was material information to consumers.

We also noted that the size of the text was small and it appeared on screen for only two seconds before disappearing for the remainder of the ad. We considered that likely further impaired a consumer’s ability to sufficiently read and understand the disclosure.

Because the presentation of the text within the context of the ad overall was not presented clearly, we concluded the ad was likely to mislead consumers to the presence of loot boxes within the game, which we considered to be material information.

The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 and 3.3 (Misleading advertising).


The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Electronic Arts Ltd t/a EA to ensure that ads for Golf Clash made sufficiently clear that the game contained random item purchasing and that it was presented prominently and clearly.


3.1     3.2     9.2    

CAP Code (Edition 12)

3.1     3.3     1.3     4.5    

More on