XBox advert banned for "glamorising street car racing"

LONDON (Reuters) - A television advertisement for the XBox 360 games console must be pulled after the industry watchdog criticised it for “glamorising street car racing”.

The Advertising Standards Agency said the advertisement, which featured a driver weaving in and out of traffic, being chased through a busy city centre, “could be seen to condone dangerous driving”.

It showed the car overturning and the driver getting out and being handed a police badge by his pursuers.

Advertising agency McCann Erickson, which replied to the complaint on behalf of Microsoft (Xbox), which makes the Xbox 360, said care had been taken throughout the making of the film to avoid any possible misconception that Xbox was encouraging dangerous driving.

They said they had worked closely with the Broadcast Advertising Clearance Centre and had taken its advice to run the advertisement after 9 p.m..

They had deliberately placed prominent onscreen text in the film, such as “Dramatisation. Professional stunt. Do not attempt”, to explain that all stunts were performed in controlled environments by professionals and that viewers should not attempt the stunts themselves.

They pointed out that at no time were any cars shown to be exceeding the speed limit for public roads.

The ASA said it had noted the on-screen text, but it considered that the text “reinforced the sense that the events were real, rather than fantasy, and were therefore capable of being copied”.

It went on: “We were concerned that the ad gave the impression that reckless street car racing was exciting and fun”.

It said the impression was “compounded” by the congratulations offered to the driver at the end of the “race” by the other young men involved.

It ruled the advertisement breached health and safety and driving standards rules, and should not be broadcast again.