An ad for a mobile app game that appeared to show a man about to strike a women with a chair has been banned for trivialising and condoning domestic violence.
The in-app ad for Gold And Goblins, seen in the Hooked Inc: Fishing Games and Quizzland apps in September, included a video of a woman playing a game on her mobile phone, while behind her a man picked up a chair and drew it back over his head as if to strike her with it.
The ad then showed the man looking at the phone over the woman’s shoulder as she continued to play.
Two complainants, who believed that the ad encouraged domestic violence, said it was offensive and socially irresponsible.
AppQuantum Publishing said they would immediately stop running the ad across all their platforms.
They said they had intended the ad to be humorous in nature, and apologised for any offence it might have caused.
Lion Studios, the developer of Hooked Inc: Fishing Games, said they allowed third-party advertisers to publish ads in their mobile app games.
Lion Studios said they believed that the onus was on the ad platforms and advertisers to ensure that ads complied with applicable laws and regulations, and had taken measures to prevent it from appearing in their games.
Familia App Developers, the developer of Quizzland, said they had updated their settings to block similar ads from appearing in their games in the future.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said: “The ad depicted a man about to assault a woman, and we considered that consumers would understand from the context of the setting that it was because her attention was focused on the game she was playing, rather than on the man.
“We considered that such a reference used in an ad for a mobile app game trivialised and condoned the serious and sensitive subject of domestic violence.
“This was likely to cause serious and widespread offence, and we considered the ad had not been prepared in a socially responsible manner.
“We therefore concluded that the ad breached the code.”