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Wednesday, 14 November, 2001, 10:23 GMT
Text message ad rapped
The Commandos 2 computer game
The text was advertising a new computer game
A computer games company has been reprimanded for sending mobile phone text messages telling people to register at army recruitment centres.

The message - sent just weeks after the 11 September terror attacks - was part of a publicity campaign for a war game.

The text message was written weeks before the horrific events of 11 September... It was on oversight on our part that it was then issued

Eidos Interactive
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said the message could distress recipients.

The advertiser, Eidos Interactive, has apologised and agreed to not to send any more of the messages.

Text messages have become increasingly popular among advertisers seeking to reach a young audience. This is the first time the ASA has upheld a complaint against one.

The message began: "Please report to your local army recruitment centre immediately for your 2nd tour of duty."

It named the game being promoted and went on: "It's more real than real life - out today."

A former member of the British Army complained to the ASA, saying the message could cause "undue fear and distress".


Eidos Interactive has apologised and is introducing new advertising guidelines as result of the situation.

A statement it said: "The SMS message was designed as a Second World War call-out to new recruits advertising the availability of the Commandos 2 computer game.

"Unfortunately the text message was written many weeks before the horrific events of 11 September.

"It was on oversight on our part that it was then issued. However, we are implementing new guidelines internally and externally to prevent this situation happening again.

"We would like to apologise for the distress that this has caused."

The BBC's Robert Nisbet
"For others the text message has proved inspirational"
See also:

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09 Oct 01 | Business
Tesco rapped by advertising watchdog
08 Aug 01 | Business
MG Rover rapped over 'speed' ads
18 Dec 00 | UK
Naked Sophie Dahl ad banned
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