Atari comes under fire for redneck Zombie shotgun ad
LONDON - A grisly ad for an Atari videogame featuring a photograph of redneck with a shotgun slung over his shoulder and a bullet-ridded dead body in his pick-up track has been banned.
As well as the bullet wounds, the body in the truck had his hands tied above his head, while blood was running from the wounds and from the man's mouth.
The cover and three stills from the game 'House of the Dead 3' appeared in the bottom left-hand corner of the ad with the tagline, written in childish writing in the bottom right-hand corner, claiming: "The only good zombie is a dead zombie".
The complainant to the Advertising Standards Authority objected that the advertisement was offensive and unsuitable for publication in a magazine that targeted boys and young men.
The Atari said the press ad reflected the tone and content of the game, which was part of a well-known series that featured excessive and unrealistic violence.
In the game, players get the chance to spray buckshot at zombies rather than opting for pinpoint accuracy as they move automatically through various spooky levels shooting zombies and monsters.
It said the ad played on the stereotype of a "redneck" and that the handwriting was meant to be that of the man holding the gun in the advertisement, not a small child.
Atari argued that the advertisement was intended to amuse and it did not believe people were likely to be offended by the blue body make-up and fake blood on the "zombie".
The publishers said Aware magazine targeted two age brackets -- men in their late 20s and early 30s and those over 50 -- and that the ad represented the content of the game. It also said it had received no other complaints.
The advertising watchdog acknowledged that the ad was published in a magazine that targeted adults, but nevertheless considered it likely to cause serious or widespread offence. It asked the advertisers not to use the ad again and advised it to seek guidance from the Committee of Advertising Practice Copy Advice team before using similar ads in future.
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