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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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Matt Martin

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Matt Martin joined GamesIndustry in 2006 and was made editor of the site in 2008. With over ten years experience in journalism, he has written for multiple trade, consumer, contract and business-to-business publications in the games, retail and technology sectors.

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