Violent advertisement crosses line

The Grand Theft Auto Five ad featured one of the main characters from the game, pointing two fingers to a tattoo on his neck. Photo / AP
The Grand Theft Auto Five ad featured one of the main characters from the game, pointing two fingers to a tattoo on his neck. Photo / AP

A complaint about an advertisement for Grand Theft Auto Five which showed "people where to decapitate someone'' was one of three decisions to be upheld by the Advertising Standards Authority this month.

The Grand Theft Auto Five ad featured one of the main characters from the game, pointing two fingers to a tattoo on his neck which was a dotted line and had the words "CUT HERE'' written underneath.

The ad appeared on the Yahoo! New Zealand email login homepage and on the news website Stuff.

The complainant said the advertisement crossed the line "especially when the Stuff website wrote about a stabbing to do with the game''.

While they were aware that the game was violent and restricted to R18, "you don't need to see screen shots showing people where to decapitate someone'', the complainant said.

Other complainants shared similar views, saying the advertisement was "offensive, aggressive and intimidating'' and the advertisement "should be kept to R18 websites''.

The authority's Complaints Board upheld the complaint and ordered the advertisements to be removed.

They said the tattoo on the character's neck was clearly a reference to decapitation and while it was in cartoon form, the imagery still lent support to unacceptable violent behaviour.

Another decision upheld by the authority concerned a website advertisement for Wonderful Works promoting the benefits of reflexology.

The website stated "some uses for reflexology we have done include but not limited to: diabetes ... cancer (all types) and breast cancer.''

The complainant said there was no evidence to support the claims made.

The complaints board said the advertisement contained unrealistic outcomes and exaggerated claims that were likely to mislead or deceive consumers and ordered the advertisement ordered to be removed.

The third upheld decision concerned an advertisement for a Mad Millie cheese kits, sold "from $52'' which appeared on the Grabone website.

The advertisement said the kits had a "value of up to $175'', however the complainant said the at the time of advertising, the kits were on the Mad Millie website for $140.

The complaints board said the price discrepancy was confusing and therefore, was likely to deceive or mislead consumers and ordered the advertisement to be removed.

Of the nine new decisions published on the authority's website, four complaints were not upheld and two were settled.

- APNZ

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