The ASA has ruled that Paramount Pictures UK’s placement of an in-game advertisement for Paranormal Activity 4 during games such as Angry Birds and Draw Something was ‘irresponsible’, as it could distress children.
Three complaints were made over the ads, suggesting the images, which featured a woman being dragged across the room, could create fear or distress in children.
Paramount Pictures UK said they instructed their media buying agency, MEC Global, to buy advertising space aimed at 15- to 24-year-olds and that their instructions were issued in good faith on the understanding that the content would be appropriately placed.
Zynga, which owns Draw Something, said it had received some feedback from its gamer community that the ad may have been inappropriate for younger players and, once it became aware of the concerns, it promptly discontinued the ad and alerted the agency.
Rovio Entertainment Ltd, the owners of Angry Birds, said the ad was not suitable to be shown alongside their game and that its placement there was against their advertising guidelines.
The ASA concluded ‘errors had clearly been made by the various parties involved in placing the ad’.