Tiga slams "absurd and insulting" Change4Life campaign

Ad is offensive to the 30,000 people at work in the UKs videogame industry, says Wilson; ELSPA looking to educate campaigners

Tiga's Richard Wilson has slammed the Change4Life ad campaign which depicts a child holding a PlayStation controller and the slogan: "Risk an early death, just do nothing."

The advert is part of the Department of Health's campaign to promote a healthy lifestyle, and is also supported by Cancer Research, The British Heart Foundation and Diabetes UK.

"This advert is absurd and insulting in equal measure," said Wilson.

"To imply that playing a videogame leads to a premature rendezvous with the Grim Reaper is a non-sequitur of colossal proportions. Alcohol and drug abuse, smoking, obesity and involvement in violent crime are forms of behaviour that risk an early death."

Tiga has submitted a formal complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority, with Wilson saying it insults the entire games industry in the UK.

"This advert is offensive to the 30,000 people who work in the UK’s video games industry, particularly the 10,000 who work in games development.

"Game developers are typically intelligent, very qualified and creative individuals who work to produce high quality games for people’s entertainment. They are not in the business of driving people to an early grave," added Wilson.

"With nearly a quarter of men and women and almost a fifth of 2 to 5 year olds in England obese we clearly need to encourage a more active lifestyle and healthy diet. It should be possible to achieve this objective without misrepresenting a creative industry of 30,000 people."

The Entertainment and Leisure Software Association has said that it's currently educating the non government organisations behind the Change4Life campaign in the positive aspects of the games industry.

"When we became aware of the adverts we were surprised as they contradicted much of the discussion that we had enjoyed with the Department of Health," said ELSPA's Michael Rawlinson.

"We immediately called for an urgent meeting with its officials responsible for Change4life. Following that meeting we have been informed that the ads are the responsibility of the NGOs listed.

"We are now taking the matter up with these organisations and informing them of the responsible position taken by the industry as demonstrated on our Ask About Games website."

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Latest comments (7)

Philip Wride Producer - Community, Walt Disney Company8 years ago
A good case of right hand left hand here, or more likely a two-face stance from various groups. Really annoying that people still work to discredit the games industry at every opportunity consciously or subconsciously.
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Lars Vormann Projectmanager Games, Much More GmbH8 years ago
However, on a lighter note...if you look at this sentence, I tend to disagree (yes, with a big fat winking smiley ;)): "To imply that playing a videogame leads to a premature rendezvous with the Grim Reaper is a non-sequitur of colossal proportions."
Sooner or later one does play a shooter :-D

I support the complaint throughoutly!
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Chris Dye Co-owner 8 years ago
The advert is a disgrace, that child could be spending the same time sat reading a book, listening to music, doing school home-work or sat watching tv. Are these also all activities that should be accused of "leading to an early death" and discouraged?

considering adverts have been banned by the ASA for receiving as little as 33 complaints [link url=

it will be interesting to see how they respond to a complaint representing the views of up to 30,000 people

/supports the complaint and thanks Tiga

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Chris Dye on 9th March 2009 3:37pm

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Show all comments (7)
Jack Ward Fincham Assistant Producer, Stainless Games Ltd8 years ago
This is frankly insane, I play squash, climb, run and attend the gym at least once a week. I eat healthy and enjoy life. So should I assume that picking up my pad and making my living I'm going to die?

Skydiving, bungie jumping, sword swallowing, these are things people do and take their life in their hands. Gaming hardly compares.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Jack Ward Fincham on 9th March 2009 5:02pm

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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.8 years ago
Now don't start attacking the sword swallowing industry. They employ millions, err, thousands, ummm, 3 people who bring in billions of Pounds (Egyptian Pounds) to the tax base.

I've never heard of kids dying an early death because they took up sword swallowing. Unlike video gaming where they die all the time (unless they use an invincibility code).

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Richard Coshott CEO, Gamercize8 years ago
Sadly Gamercize is an official partner of the Change4Health awareness campaign, but this advert had no consultation at all. Not with it's partners, the ELSPA or any researchers of any respect I am aware of.

The poster (and now local radio advert) are reaffirming a public misconception. While this loses credibility within the active gaming industry it is unlikely to cause a public outcry. Gaming is apparently a soft target.

My experience today with the DoH tells me that the best counter for this misleading campaign is through the ASA. I fully support Tiga's complaint.

I'll say no more than that about "the ministry", and get back to some serious gameplay online at about 400 cal/hr with our active gaming kit... so my only "risk of early death" is at the wrong end of an AK.
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Darren Adams Managing Director, ChaosTrend8 years ago
Lol, I can just imagine the bods at C4L discussing this.......

C4L Bod 1 - "So how can we link video games to something really bad to get people off their consoles and out to the gym or some other healthy activity which is considered to be good for you?"

C4L Bod 2 - "Umm, perhaps we just do an ad campaign saying 'Playing games can lead to brain tumoursí or 'Games can make you infertile'"

C4L Bod 1 - "Hmmmmmm, I think we need something a little sharper than that; Brain tumours just aint gonna cut it in these days of War time TV and ultra-violent sadistic horror films. You have to get punchy these days to get their attention."

C4L Bod 2 - "Yes, your right. What about if we say 'Games can lead to early death' and have an image of some kid holding a controller, looking like heís high on crack or something and then above it we have 'Risk an early death, just do nothing.'"

C4L Bod 1 - "YEAAAA, I like it!!! Now thatís thinking out of the box. Care for a glass of champagne?"

C4L Bod 2 - "Don't mind if I do, cheers."


Edited 2 times. Last edit by Darren Adams on 9th March 2009 8:40pm

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