An online advert for The Walking Dead season four DVD has been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for showing violence and “graphic detail” that could be viewed by children.
The video, which was shown before an online game on agame.com, showed a zombie being run over by a speeding car with spluttering sounds and body parts flying up in the air. The ad then switched to scenes of bloody bodies scattered and close up shots of zombies being shot, struck and stabbed.
One viewer complained to the watchdog after raising concerns the ad was shown on an unsuitable medium where it might be seen by children.
Entertainment One (eOne) responded that the ad was placed by a media agency on its behalf via a video advertising platform on the website, and that its brief to the agency, which detailed that the DVD was certified by the British Board of Film Classification as an 18, was that it must only be targeted at adults aged 18 to 35.
eOne added that it didn’t believe agame.com was intended for a child audience and said SPIL Games was responsible for ensuring games that were appealing to children were separated from 18+ games within its inventory, as well as the ads that they showed.
SPIL Games commented that it had not received any complaints from users regarding the ad, and said certain content filters and ad restrictions are implemented with all their sales partners, to ensure that only appropriate ad content is served to users.
However, SPIL Games admitted that the ad had fallen through its filters on this occasion. It stated it had notified its sales partners to adhere to ad targeting specifications.
The ASA ruled that the level of violence and graphic detail in the ad was not suitable for viewing by children and on that basis, found that the ad had been inappropriately and irresponsibly shown on a medium where it might be seen by children.
eOne was told to ensure future ads that were unsuitable for viewing by children were appropriately targeted.